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extra honey

2148 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Elizabeth
what do you all do with your extra honey at the end of the year? i will be bottling raw chunk comb honey (comb honey in a jar with extracted honey poured over it) and selling at local high-end garden centers, orchards, delis and the like. whoever will sell it for me basically. what do you do with it all? sell it? give it away? save it for birthdays and holidays? store it in the back room??? haha

just wondering


also, do y'all think a pound of chunk comb honey is worth $6.50 wholesale? the store could then sell it for $7.50 retail. just wondering... again ;)
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When I first started I thought I’d have one heck of a time getting rid of all my honey. I have found since I started that I can’t get the girls to make enough of it. You shouldn’t have a problem. The first year may be a little slow, but I doubt you will have any left over. Start to put the word out now, that you are selling local honey and watch the phone ring off the hook. Run a add in some of the local church bulletins, or your local paper. If all else fails you can always feed it back to the bees.

bob, how do you package your honey? I'm guessing that, by the sound of your response, you sell your honey. for how much per pound, if you dont mind me asking? My top-bar hive will produce all comb honey, while my two langstroth hives will be used for extracted honey. If i get enough demand for comb honey I am thinking about using foundationless frames in my langstroth hives and just cutting out the comb and sectioning it off into pieces for sale. For comb honey, I am correct to assume that you have to freeze it before sale to kill any lingering mites or wax moth eggs, correct?
I know nothing about bee keeping, but I do know that my wife has pollen allergies and often wishes to buy locally grown honey for her tea in order to desensitize herself to the local pollen. I have no idea if this is a practice based on science or just a “health food wives tale” – it sounds sensible to me, but you might want to check. Anyway, my point is that you might find a market at your local health food store. Also, if it is something that is helpful to folks with allergies maybe you could get some referral customers from a local allergist/homeopath. Just a thought.
We just started this year with our hives, so don't really expect any or maybe just a little extra that the bees don't need, but we hope to add 5 more hives next year or this fall, and keep expanding to around 50-100, then sell our surplus.
What is extra honey?? Can there ever be extra honey?? :haha:

This is only our 2nd year with honeybees. Word got out at the farmer's market last year (I didn't sell any there) and I've had folks calling me all winter & spring.
What's extra honey? I wish I had another 200-300 lbs right now. The plus side is that we already have honey supers on some of the stronger hives so we may be able to get some more fairly quick.

We did about 1000 lbs from last summer and we have maybe 50 lbs that we haven't extracted and sold (We find that storing the last that we take off in the honey supers/frames works pretty good as long as it is kept cool.) we have maybe 15 lbs packaged at the moment. This means we don't have enough to justify doing some of the late spring, early summer gift shows/fairs that I'd like to try plus we are rationing our normal customers.

If we hadn't held back on selling we would have run out a while ago. Here's one hint if you are selling honey (retail) as a business: Repeat customers are worth gold! We have people who buy 15-20 lbs every 2-3 months and they pay full retail. I absolutely want to make sure I have something for them when they call.
Just picture 100 people buying 60 to 100 lbs a year at retail prices. It will take a few years to build up our clientele but that allows us to build up our apiaries at a slower pace. That is, matching production to sales.

We only cold process and the largest batch that we normally extract is 4 frames (what our extractor holds). We match the frames in a batch for color and taste so we have a lot of variation from batch to batch. We only filter the honey through cheesecloth.

I also have a bunch of fancy bottles (hearts, wavy squares, etc) with corks that I was able to pick up when someone else went out of business (not honey). These really attract attention at fairs and holiday gift shows.

We also think we will get good sales synergy with our black walnuts. Actually, adding black walnuts to our offering increases our ability to sell over the internet. The walnuts (in the shell) make great packing material for the honey bottles and help rationalize the value equation. The walnuts our lightweight but take up volume and the honey is dense. The walnuts add enough value that the shipping cost becomes a smaller percentage of the value of the purchase.

So again, what extra honey?

justgojumpit asked:

also, do y'all think a pound of chunk comb honey is worth $6.50 wholesale? the store could then sell it for $7.50 retail. just wondering... again

There was a write up in Bee Culture about a company that had special packaging/frames for doing comb. Basically, plastic packs that have the comb imprint on the bottom so that the comb is made right in the plastic container. Remove the bottom from the frame, snap on the top and you are ready to go. They chose 4 OZ as the size to do because it was more convenient for most prospective customers. More like a "candy" treat. At some point I'll look into doing cut comb but there hasn't been that much interest in it from customers. I think you'll do better with smaller packages and maybe skipping pouring honey over it. Maybe offer it both ways to see.

I don't know what comb wholesales for but your pricing sounds high to me. You may get your price and sell out if your production isn't too big. On the other hand, there isn't much money on the table for the store. If you move 100 lbs through them in a year it's only $100 gross margin to them. I don't think they will do many turns on the shelf space. Even if it is on consignment it's just not a lot of money for them.

We are talking with a premium food store and looking at 50 lbs/month minimum and several promotion days when we will come in and offer samples at the store and resulting in extra sales). We still haven't figured out a price schedule for selling through the store. This will be the first time we are selling through someone else. Also, we are moving slowly so that we can see how 2004 starts shaping up. Our own retail customers come first.

We sold 2003 honey based on $4 a lb retail. I'm thinking we underpriced our market pricepoint and should have been at $5 per pound. Understand that a lot of people in our region are selling their honey at $3/lb and happy to get it. Then again, they are just selling from their roadside stand in more remote locations. Bulk processing, etc. The local supermarkets have honey (Suebee, whatever) for $3 to $4 per pound. Because of how we process and the fact that there are no chemical sprays in the forage area we can get a premium for our production.

I've seen cut comb and raw honey in health food stores at $7.50 to $8.50 per lb but you can tell that they have been sitting on the shelves for a while. I want people to enjoy what we product as fresh as possible. While honey doesn't go bad I firmly believe that fresh honey is better than honey that has been sitting around for a while.

We are always testing packaging. Our two biggest sellers are 1 lb rounds (like a deli tub) and 12 oz bears.

We have had several people ask us about pollen and propylis. We picked up a couple propylis traps this year and will try them out. Maybe I'll look into pollen next year.

Sorry for blathering on but I figure talking about pricing/marketing models might be useful as you try to figure out what you want to do.

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thanks mike, I would be happy with $5 per pound, with the store retailing it at 6 or 6.50. The owner of the store is more of a friend, and is not really trying to make money off of me. he already sells my eggs for $3.25 a dozen (free range, really good quality eggs), making 25 cents per dozen on them. again, not a money maker by any means. however, he does have customers who come weekly just for my eggs, and then happen to buy some tomatoes while they're at it. The same will be for my honey... i hope ;) he already said he would sell honey for me, so now it just depends of what price we can agree on. I think he can move the honey along quite nicely at 6.00 a pound, chunk comb honey. people come to this store to get good stuff. He is expensive, but his plants are top quality, his produce is top quality, his service is top quality, and he is a really nice down to earth guy, so people don't mind spending the extra money if they can. again, some people gawk at eggs for $3.25 a dozen, while most of them go to repeat customers. my eggs are brown and green, by the way, which adds some unique appeal. I will be getting white eggs from my young hens around september or august too. So my sales work more to make his store unique than to make him money. everyone asks about the green eggs, and comes back for more... so that is why i am thinking about chunk comb honey... you just dont see it in a supermarket.

thanks for all the time you put into your reply, i really appreciate it. you're right, maybe my pricing was a little high, and it would be better to sell for less and actually move the product off the shelf than sell for too much. I can always expand to meet the demand. hey that rhymes ;)

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I sell my honey at $6 a pound. If somebody thinks that, it is too much then so what there are enough people who are more than happy to pay that. Remember we are selling LOCAL honey you can show people which hive it came from what flowers they pulled the nectar from…that really makes a difference.

Make sure you’re not selling jars that are too big. No more than a 1 lb. size. Most people only want 1 lb or less, any more than that and they are buying something they don’t want and you will have to lower the price.

I do some cut comb but have never heard of freezing it. I understand the point but comb honey should be removed before any moths or beetles can move into it. Good cut comb or comb honey is removed when the cappings are very white, and this can only be done with strong colonies. If you freeze it, the honey will crystallize in the comb, reducing the value of the honey.

I may add some more to this thread tomorrow, it’s 1:30am and I have to get up at 4:30 to go to class. Other than that, Mike did a great job and saved me a lot of typing. ;)

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You absolutely want to freeze your comb honey before selling it, especially if you have small hive beetle in your area. The honey will granulate in the comb but will re-liquify if left at room temp for a couple of days prior to selling it. Freezing will not hurt the honey at all.
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