Highland Honey Bees honey is a unique raw product
Honey, like wine, coffee, chocolate, and cheese, is part of America’s epicurean food awakening. Once you have eaten an exquisite honey, you will always know the difference between a generic honey and that of a raw product with unique local tastes and floral aromas.
The taste of this honey conveys an awareness of high quality and the particular tastes of Boulder County. Honey quality is partially dependent on the unique interaction of geology, geography and climate, and how these factors affect plant life. The food source for bees are nectars and pollens from local plant life. These factors combine to create a “taste of place,” a concept often used in wine and fine food culture, and germane to our distinctive honey. These unique qualities of a region, along with the skills of the beekeeper, and the texture of the honey, all combine to produce the unique and artisanal honey of Highland Honey Bees.
Another contributing factor to the high quality of our honey is its texture. We cream honey because of the texture it creates, and because of the shelf stability of creamed honey. Creamed honey is a natural process where the size of the crystals in honey becomes fixed in a small size. This allows the honey to permanently maintain its creamy texture. The relationship between texture and taste is sublime! Creamed honey wraps around your taste buds, allowing the subtle complex flavors to slowly reveal themselves.
Creaming will naturally and permanently maintain the raw food quality of our honey by creating a stable shelf-product that will never further crystallize! All honey, unless it has been filtered to remove pollen or heated, will eventually crystallize, and while hard, crystallized honey is not bad for you, it does impede it ease of use.
Traditional, for most consumer markets, honey would be filtered and heated, so as to maintain its perpetual low viscosity. Quality was sacrificed for shelf stability. (Heated honey also aids in the extraction process-hot honey flows like water). Heated and filtered honey is not a raw food product, and it is significantly less attractive for its taste and food value!
Healthy Bees Create Healthy Honey
The skills of a beekeeper are paramount in contributing to the health of the bees and their capacity to produce quality excess honey. In today’s world new diseases and new pesticides challenge the immune systems of the bees. Helping bees to maintain their health with strong immune systems demands skill and constant learning. Diverse food supports bee health. We have a labor-intensive practice of moving our hives several times a year, following nectar flows.
We do this to help support the nutritional needs of the bees and because this diversity of foods helps create the rich complex flavors of our honey. When our honey is jarred for consumption, it is a fully blended honey with diverse nectars from the varying eco-zones solely from Boulder County. The floral source for this truly local honey comes in part directly from your backyard.
Keep Honey Cool
Another beekeeping skill set critical for a high quality honey, is the extraction process. The raw honey we sell and produce is very close to the original condition when it left the hive, nothing added, nothing removed, no filtering, and never heated. Heat is the enemy of honey! It will degrade the taste, smell and food quality quickly.
Heating honey above 96.8°F, causes loss of nearly 200 components, some of which are antibacterial and at higher temperatures the important enzymes are destroyed and honey sugars caramelize. For this reason, in the extraction process, we never heat our honey room above 95°F the temperature found naturally occurring within a bee colony. This cool extraction process does not degrade the honey, maintaining the unique tastes, aromas, and medicinal qualities of the honey.
Many peoples' predominant honey experience is with generic, pasteurized clear honey sold in a grocery store. This honey is solely a sweetener, devoid of aromas, complex flavors and nutritional/medicinal value. It has been highly filtered and heated designed for ease of production and shelf stability.
But once you have eaten an exquisite honey, you will always know the difference between a generic honey and that of a raw product with unique tastes and floral aromas. Our attention and care with labor-intensive practices to support bee health by moving the hives for diverse food sources, our bee keeping practices, extraction techniques and the creamed texture of our honey, all combine to help create this fine high quality honey.
Eat it by the spoonful, try it with your favorite cheese and fruit, be creative and enjoy!
- Raw should actually mean raw, but it rarely does.
- Ain’t nothin’ wrong with crystals.
Common processing practices are driven more by efficiency than by quality.
- Labeling laws are inadequate.
- Honey tastes different when it’s been heated.
- Yay pollen!
Location, Location, Location
Our hives are situated primarily within the prairies, foothills and mountains of Boulder County. This variety in micro-climates and food sources is reflected in our complexly flavored honey. Enjoying this honey is one way to have a personal experience with your neighborhood and greater community.