We realized early on that if we want to create value for our clients, we must transcend marketing stories, practice truly sustainable agriculture and provide our clients with exquisite, unique products.
Regenerative or sustainable farmers make the following claims:
Economic impact: we produce high quality, exquisite products for a niche market. Clients pay a fair price. The value proposition must be balanced. Clients do not pay for our inefficiencies. Money flows into our community.
Environmental impact: efficient production minimizes waste and we maximize recycled inputs. Local production and sales means les pollution. We detail a agro-environmental plan for manure management.
Animal welfare impact: animals can express their natural behaviors. They have lots of space and live in a fitting environment.
Impact on climate change: more carbon sequestration because of intensively rotated pastures.
Social impact: no hidden costs that have to be carried by society or future generations. Honest relationships with suppliers and employees. Family farm.
Impact on consumer health: more omega-3, more CLAs. No antibiotics. No hormones. No synthetic pesticides. (We use some organic bio-pesticides on our veggies.)
We sell liquid honey that is not pasteurized, ultra-filtrated or blended, so it will crystallize (or granulate) over time. This is a normal process. You can heat up the honey gently "au bain mari" to liquify it again.
We also offer creamed honey. We prime the honey with very fine crystals so that the consistency is more like butter (depending on the temperature). This is the honey that we prefer.
Raw honey is very popular in Europe. Nothing is done to prevent crystallization, so it is honey in its purest form. The granules are course, like sugar.
Most honey on the market is pasteurized, blended and ultra-filtrated, because people generally like liquid honey that stays liquid. For the cheapest imported honeys there are some concerns that corn syrup or another sweetener could be part of the mix.
No pasteurization. We try to heat the honey as little as possible, because heated honey produces HMF (Hydroxymethylfurfural) and HMF gives honey a bad taste over time. There is no need for pasteurization because honey contains so little water that bacteria or yeast cannot grow on it. That is why bees use it as their winter store.
No ultra-filtration. Ultra-filtration removes much of the pollen and the taste. Local pollen could help alleviating allergies.
No blending. Flowers bloom during different times of the year, so each honey flow has a unique bouquet. We usually have linden (or basswood) honey which is tangy, spring honey (mostly dandelion) and darker fall honey (clover, goldenrod and asters) available. We have a hard time making pure clover honey were we live.
We had a couple of unfortunate set backs in the apiary, but thanks to the FADQ, Gert will produce enough honey in 2016 to get a license to sell his renowned mead or honey wine, made from an ancient Belgian recipe. It is quite powerful. We hope to offer this product on the farm by the end of 2016.