Are You Giving It Away?

Creamed honey from the beekeepers’ co-op. Price per pound: CAN $9.00 (US $7.25)

A few days ago, I was shopping at our local co-op grocery store. As usual, I checked the price of honey. I like to use their prices as a minimum guide for honey produced by hobby beekeepers. Here in Calgary, beekeepers are beginning to extract. We make nice, mild, white honey. It’s beautiful stuff. But some of my friends give their honey away. Others price it so low that you’d think they’re not proud of what their bees have done.

So, here’s my annual admonition. Charge a lot of money for your honey. People will assume that it’s worth it. And it probably is. Certainly, it must be worth more than the stuff on the grocery shelf. Here are the prices worked out per pound for you:

Remember, this inventory was taken at just one store, on one day. Sales come and go; prices vary. But if you are cheaper than the cheapest honey at the local grocery, maybe you’re giving it away.

Gramma Bee’s was the cheapest honey at the store. It’s officially Canada #3 honey. To be #1, it has to meet a few standards (colour and moisture) which this honey likely met. But it’s ‘Never Heated, Never Filtered’ and “RAW”. Your honey, dripping from the extractor tonight, is probably similar. This honey is selling for $6.80/pound ($5.44 US).

This honey is called “McKenzie Natural White Honey”. There is no ‘McKenzie, except that the name is perhaps the most quintessential Canadian of all names.
I’ve tried this brand, it’s really good. It’s packed by some good folks in central Alberta. In the store at $8.16 per pound. ($6.53 US)

Billy Bee (now owned by McCormick foods) has promised to only retail 100% Canadian honey. Hooray for that. I once bought this brand just for the squeeze-bee. Sells here for $8.33/pound. ($7.00US)

On the top shelf, out of reach for kids and people (like me) shopping from a wheelchair, is the store’s only blatantly imported honey. It’s from the Australian packer, Capilano. (If you haven’t read my story about the defamation case involving Capilano, you’re in for a treat.) The Capilano brands shown here are the most expensive in the store – one is organic, the other is from manuka. These honeys are around $10.75/pound. ($8.50US)

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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11 Responses to Are You Giving It Away?

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    Interesting to know. We just bought some 400g of buckwheat honey for 15 zloty (about 4 USD) and that’s about the going rate here for an artisan product. I have no idea how much it is in the shops, but I’d imagine its a little higher as you end up paying tax and the like.
    Fantastic honey by the way, very dark in colour with a lingering treacle like taste, gong back for more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      I grew up in a place (Pennsylvania) where buckwheat honey was common. I liked it, too. We extracted it in mid-August. It was like very good medicine!
      You are lucky to find a local source. Can you make some yourself? Buckwheat honey on fresh new white wax is a special treat.
      If I remember correctly, the bees had nasty stings while working buckwheat, especially in the late afternoon when the flowers were finished secreting for the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eddy Winko says:

        I have just heard the news, about an hour ago, that our first hives will arrive next weekend, after waiting for many months…time to start reading 🙂 I will sow a patch of buckwheat for them next year and let you know how we get on.
        Lots of beekeepers in the area, we can choose between four or five suppliers within 5 miles of here, indeed we are lucky.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron Miksha says:

        Exciting times ahead!


  2. Pingback: Are You Giving It Away? | Raising Honey Bees

  3. I recently raised my price from $12/lb to $15/lb. If people gripe, I offer the observation that the average Joe thinks nothing of paying double digit prices for some hunk of meat at the market, eats it all in one meal and never remembers it. My memorable honey is a fine, locally produced product sourced from my feral survivor stock honey bees. These bees would have been exterminated if not rescued, but are now making a honey no one can buy anywhere else— Minimally strained, not heated, no treatments, foundationless frames (their own wax)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      Great! My father used to say that if no one ever complains about the price then it’s definitely too cheap. A few complaints should be expected. I like your attitude – we aren’t selling the same stuff as most grocers carry so we shouldn’t be selling it for their prices.


  4. Erik says:

    I did my first extraction this year and have some extra. I’ve been deciding what to do with it and thinking about possible pricing if anyone asks. Thanks for the timely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Are You Giving It Away? | Beginner Beekeeper

  6. api101 says:

    I totally agree!
    Instead of selling my honey at a low price, I prefer to give it back to the bees. The effort of bees and beekeepers shoud always be kept in mind when we talk about prices.

    Liked by 1 person

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