" Ask 6 beekeepers a question and you will get 10 different answers."
Just as there are endless choices to be made when managing the health of a hive, there are also many different ways that honey can be processed when it comes out of the hive. As with most things, there is certainly no one correct answer, so there are almost as many ways that beekeepers process honey as there are beekeepers. Filtering, heating, creaming, and other methods of production all have to be considered by the beekeeper who is choosing how to process the bees' crop.
Here at Wicked Ladies Apiaries we choose to process raw honey that is only rough filtered or allowed to settle to remove larger wax pieces, bee parts, or other larger impurities that are included in the honey during the extraction process. No heat is used at any time while we process the honey, either. Because we choose this method, honey produced at Wicked Ladies can have tiny pieces of wax or other impurities, but also contains all of the pollen grains and local 'flavor' that people generally find most desirable.
For those who look for local honey for its reported health benefits around allergies and other seasonal ailments, finding local honey that has not been overly processed is important to consumers. It is believed that it is the pollen and other components of the honey which give it the health benefits they desire, and over processing or heating can remove those elements. If you are a small beekeeper seeking to command the best price for your honey, less processing often commands a higher price from customers.
That is not to say that raw honey only comes in traditionally liquid, bottled form. Chunk honey (a piece of honeycomb jarred and surrounded with liquid honey) and comb honey (honey that is not extracted, but packaged in its comb and sold all together) are two other ways that people enjoy honey in its unprocessed form. Many people only will buy comb honey, since they can visually see there has been no additional processing from the hive.
Wicked Ladies currently produces liquid raw honey in a variety of sizes, but is continuing to adapt its hives to the production of comb honey as well. We enjoy comb honey ourselves, and we believe it is a great way for people to get the best honey experience, apart from sampling directly form the hive.
Whatever honey you enjoy or processing method you choose, it's impossible to deny that fresh, local honey is one of the most delicious gifts we receive from the Wicked Ladies in our hives!
Tales of the Wicked Ladies reflects the personal experiences of our journey. For more information, visit our About page or contact us with questions or comments and we will be happy to get back to you.