I’ve been meaning to analyse this for a while, since I saw a jar of “Organic” honey in our cupboard.
When I was a youngster, an elderly uncle who resided at Trunkey Creek near Bathurst, would visit a couple of times a year with a 5 gallon tin of natural honey from his hives. It was the closest thing to getting your honey straight from a wild hive in a gum tree.
The stuff was wonderful and lasted months. Although as we’d near the end of the tin, the honey would sometimes turn to candy, so we’d put the tin in a tub of hot water to “melt” the honey for easy use.
Now if ever there was a product that was naturally “organic” it is honey. As far as I know, only bees produce honey. Mankind hasn’t yet invented machines to create artificial honey?
So how can honey be differentiated on labels as either “natural” or “organic”? It’s even certified.
It’s times like this you wonder who is stranger? The marketers who decided to promote organic honey, as against natural honey, or the punters who pay a premium for the organic stuff?
I was curious as to what defines organic honey. Apparently the hives have to be made from natural materials. There can be artificial elements within the structures of man-made hives. The bees diet needs to be organic. This is where the issue gets a bit buzzy, sorry fuzzy. As a beekeeper, how do you ensure your bees only visit natural, pesticide-free flowers?
According to Capilano – an Australian honey brand – to be officially certified organic, hives must be made from organic materials and only exposed to organic environments and beekeeping techniques in the preparation of the honey. Sites have to be regularly audited to meet a rigorous checklist of requirements to reach certification, including not being within a 5km radius of all normal farms & agricultural land that don’t use organic methods.
It seems a lot of work to create a product that looks, smells and tastes the same as the natural product. And it’s not like a marketer is competing with artificial honey substitutes. Sure there are different flavours according to the flowers from which the bees get their pollen, but all honey is natural.
There’s honey and there’s honey. Well there is unless you live in France, or your bees live near industrial estates, rubbush tips or residential areas.
It was reported last year that “a cluster of bee hives in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M’s candy processed at a nearby bio-gas plant is the cause.”
Interesting that one of the most artificially created sweet treats is ruining the most naturally created sweet treat. But maybe there is an opportunity here?
There are herb-infused and other flavour-infused honeys. But why not coloured honey for kids? Make honey fun – add colour to a honey sandwich on white bread?
Or maybe vitamin honey for those oldies with no teeth? A spoonful of honey with a cuppa and you get your vitamin fix. Something’s coming to mind – a tune. Just a spoonful of honey makes the medicine go down – where have I heard that before?
After all, they’ve added vitamins to water, so why not to honey?
Have to go now – I’m off to find some pristine bushland to stake out my hives. That’s of course if there’s any left after the coal-seam gas land grab.
I wonder of there’s a market for coal-flavoured honey?