JUST IOWA HONEY
Our Honey Products!
Pure, raw honey!
Our honey is not pasteurized - we don't even use a heated knife to extract our honey. We never heat our honey over natural hive temperatures, and we only filter it minimally to remove wax particles. We strain the honey through a 400-600 micron mesh, which allows the pollen to filter through into the bottled honey. The honey that you purchase from your local grocery store could have been ultra-filtered and pasteurized, which removes the healthful benefits. This honey may be bottled in the United States, but originated from a foreign country without honey-extracting/storage ethics, or possibly is adulterated with additional ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup.
2022 Honey Varietals
We often get asked how we can offer and know the varietal of honey. As a beekeeper, it is important to know the honey-producing trees and plants that are available within a three mile radius of your apiary, as well as understand the bloom period of each of those trees and plants. While our honey is never mono-floral, as it is impossible to state the bees only visited one species of flower, the varietal name indicates the primary nectar source the bees were foraging on at the time of surplus honey production. Our liquid honey is never flavored or infused with additional ingredients. (Please note that we do prepare a creamed honey in which we add freeze-dried fruit or cinnamon powder to the concoction.)
At both of the Runnells apiaries and Indianola apiary, there are Black Locust trees within a three-mile radius of our apiaries. We can't always offer this varietal, as many times in May, the bees are still focused on building the colony to a robust population. In addition, the Black Locust does not bloom every year; therefore, we are never sure if we will be able to offer this honey from year to year. However, when available, we track the blooming period of the trees, and extract the honey. Black locust honey is delectable; it is a very light, mild distinctive honey, and is worth the additional effort. Black Locust honey is this author's favorite honey!
Many beekeepers wait until August to extract; in doing so, the honey is mixed and typically just called wildflower honey. Tracking and extracting varietal honey is more labor intensive; but, we love the experience and the ability to offer our customers the opportunity to enjoy several types of honey.
Our recommendation is if you find a varietal that you love, buy enough to supply yourself for the upcoming year. Our varietals, especially the black locust, linden and clover honey, sell out very quickly. We have found our customers get disappointed when they found a honey they love, and have to wait months to restock their supply. Since our harvest is focused during late July, early August, it may be months before the honey is available again.
Our 2022 harvest produced seven different varietals, based on the apiary that the honey was extracted from.
Black Locust Honey
Runnells and Indianola Apiaries
The honey is extremely light colored, lemonish white or yellow-green. The aroma is floral, fruity, delicate, very persistent. The flavor is very sweet, slightly acidic with hints of vanilla and no aftertaste. The flowery notes are noticed best in the finish.
This honey has a mild taste in comparison to our other varietals. It is delicate, and you can definitely pull the vanilla flavor, and it has no aftertaste whatsoever. This honey is excellent, and not available every year, as the Black Locust trees flower sporadically. This honey is primarily Black Locust nectar, with a mix of clover and wildflower nectar.
We believe the Black Locust/Acacia honey is pure honey this year; very little secondary nectar influences in our Indianola Black Locust. You can really pick up on the flowery notes in the finish with this honey!
Des Moines Apiary
Last year we didn't get any Linden/Basswood honey, but we have it back in stock. The honey made from the nectar of these trees is prized for its unique taste and aroma, and because an annual linden honey crop can’t be guaranteed, it’s even more valuable. For beekeepers who produce and sell linden honey, they are burdened with uncertainty about their crop during every season. Although linden trees do have tremendous potential to produce a lot of honey, weather can often get in the way of reaching that goal.
While the flowers typically bloom during a three-week period, a change in weather can cut the bloom time down to only two days. It’s also possible that heavy rains could wash away the nectar because the flowers are so delicate and are prone to fall during a heavy downpour. Furthermore, seed production can be hit or miss as well, occurring every three to four years. The average beekeeper can count on a good honey crop only two-to-three years out of five.
Linden Honey is said to have natural antibacterial properties, which can actively fight off inflammation and respiratory infections and have a detoxifying effect that supports a healthy liver. The flavor is medium sweet and pleasantly fruity, with a hint of citrus or mint at the end.
Des Moines Apiary:
Most of our customers are familiar with the honey available from our Des Moines apiary - it has a robust flavor as a result of multiple florals available along the Des Moines river, as well as the native florals planted on our property - the native Agastache on our property adds a unique flavor to this honey, and has been a long-standing favorite of many customers.
Our colonies are located on a friend's property - the land is in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and we are ecstatic with the honey that is produced from this location. A mild, very sweet wildflower honey!
Our colonies are located on a friend's property near Runnells, where he has a lot of fields of clover in addition to neighboring wildflower fields. A mild, very sweet wildflower honey!
We also extracted a wildflower honey with a secondary nectar source of linden honey. A unique and pleasant honey - lovers of linden honey will appreciate this honey!
We didn't harvest any clover honey this year - we know it is in our wildflower honey, but we just couldn't detect pure clover honey. With that said, give our Runnells wildflower honey a try - we KNOW it has clover nectar!
WHEN WE HARVEST CLOVER HONEY:
The honey has a clean, mild taste, and pairs well with just about everything! Our friend has a farmstead, and maintains clover fields - we know you will love it!
This is probably the most common honey that is available on the market. Here is the reason why it is so abundant:
The USDA provides incentives for farmers in many states to cultivate their unused or marginal land, soil that is too poor quality—too arid or too erodible, say—to otherwise yield a profit. The goal is to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and provide wildlife habitat. Simply put, the government “rents” about 25 million acres of land, under 10- or 15-year contracts at market prices, in exchange for the landowners’ commitment to enrich it. Sweet clover, it turns out, is just right for the job.
This is the first year, after 7 years of beekeeping, that we have extracted any quantity of goldenrod honey. We believe that it is blooming earlier than usual this year, it is typically one if the last flowers to bloom before winter sets in.
Goldenrod honey has a stronger flavor than our other varietals, with a bite at the end - a rather spicy honey.
We have comb honey - in Ross Round containers and square cut comb containers! Comb honey is honey at its most purest state. This is how honey was packaged before extractors were invented around 1865. If you want a unique and authentic culinary experience, then try our comb or chunk honey products!
Go to the About Comb Honey page to learn so much more!
We have converted our business to glassware. Glass is environmentally friendly, and healthier for our customers. Honey has an indefinite shelf-life; after reading that plastic bottles that are BPA-free can potentially have leaching of chemicals into food products, we elected to use glassware for our products. We recommend that you utilize a honey dipper for dispensing your honey from the glassware.
Raw honey will also eventually crystallize - the timing depends on the glucose in the honey. The glassware provides the opportunity to heat your honey over a low heat to liquefy the honey.
Upon request, we can bottle our honey in either 1 pound, 2 pound plastic queen-line bottles or in a 3 or 5 pound plastic container. If you are shipping honey, the plastic container reduces the shipping cost. In addition, when purchasing our volume discount WHOPPER mason jars, we offer one free plastic bottle on your first purchase of a mason jar. Future plastic dispensers will be charged at $1.00/plastic container.
Be an Environmental Steward
If you return a honey glass container to us, we will discount a future purchase by 25 cents! If the bottle is a half-gallon mason jar or a 2-pound queenline jar, we will discount a future purchase by 50 cents! If returning a mason jar, please ensure to include the jar ring - we use new lids, so no need to return the lid. We sterilize the containers with cleaning agents approved for use in commercial food-preparation.
Note: We no longer take back the elderberry bottles. This was a tough decision because we desire to be environmental stewards, but the bottles are difficult to clean, and we wanted to ensure we were protecting our customers.