Can you give us a brief overview of The Honey Colony? When, why and how it was founded?
The Honey Colony was born in 2019 after we decided to do some rebranding and change our focus towards premium honey. Before that, we worked with multiple different products such as chocolates, spices and even vodka/gin. However, we found honey to be an amazing product not only because of the quality that we are able to source, but also because we really believe in moving towards a healthier lifestyle.
What is the brand’s ethos and what are the core philosophies? How are these incorporated into the business and its products?
Very simply put, we want to bring the best quality honey in the world to our clients at an affordable price. Nowadays it’s so hard to find ‘real’ honey. Much of it is actually counterfeit (honey is the third most counterfeited food in the world) and demands an extraordinary price. Initially we weren’t very well-versed in the honey production industry, but through a lot of research we learned very quickly how to navigate the waters. Our apiaries, for example, are run almost solely by husband and wife couples, allowing their passion for the product to really reflect in everything we do. We make sure that we provide nothing but the best for our clients, and the best means traceable, clean and out-of-this-world good honey varieties.
How did you get into this business and what is your favorite/most rewarding part of it?
As silly as it may sound, I kind of fell into it by chance. As mentioned previously, we did work with other products before honey. I was approached by an old family friend, who had a friend who deals with Leatherwood honey specifically. I loved the product. Since that introduction, we haven’t looked back.
What are some of the difficulties you face in this industry and how do you overcome them?
I believe one of the biggest challenges in the industry nowadays is trust. After multiple scandals to do with adulterated honey, many consumers are weary of honey. They aren’t to blame either. Honey like Jarrah, Marri or even Manuka can demand a hefty price and if it’s been altered in any way, it can be an expensive mistake. The second challenge is education. This stems from the above point and we really try to explain every little detail of the production journey to our clients to make sure they are comfortable. With this extra knowledge, we believe honey consumers around the world will be able to make much better decisions when it comes to purchasing a bottle of honey.
Can you give details on your products and provide some of their special characteristics?
We have a few really great products available nowadays. Jarrah, Karri and Marri are all from Western Australia as well as from the same family of trees, Eucalyptus. Each honey variety boasts its own unique aroma and flavor profile making them incredibly individual. Then we have our Leatherwood, a lovely floral, ochre yellow honey from Tasmania that is unlike any other. What most of the honey types we carry have in common is that they are endemic to certain regions of the world meaning you will only get that exact flavor/aroma from one location on earth.
You focus on antimicrobial honey types, could you tell us about these and what makes them so special?
The antimicrobial efficacy of a honey is measured by testing the peroxide and non-peroxide activity in a honey. That’s how we get the ‘Total Activity’ (TA) rating on our various honey types. Any honey that has a TA rating of 10 or above is considered antimicrobial (meaning it kills bacteria) and as the TA rating increases, the more potent it becomes. This is why these honey types can even be used topically on wounds/irritations.
Our Jarrah is a perfect example of what we consider a ‘super’ honey. The tree itself only flowers every 2 years making this one of the rarer honey types available in the world. It also contains roughly three times the antioxidants compared to something like Manuka and has a TA rating of 40+. What’s really special is that it’s impossible to recreate. Different hive sites will yield different TA ratings and sometimes it’s really about luck.
Where do you source your honey from and why you have chosen to source from here specifically?
Our honey is sourced from special locations across Western Australia, Tasmania and Scotland. Australia has always been known for its quality produce, however, Western Australia specifically is home to the Jarrah/Karri/Marri trees that are endemic to the region. They do not grow elsewhere. Similarly for Leatherwood, it only grows in the north-western regions of Tasmania. These geographical restrictions are what make these honey types so unique as well. Temperature, soil and rainfall all play a massive role in these trees being able to survive where they do.
Can you tell us more about the process of collection and distribution of your honey? How do you maintain quality, taste and freshness during this overall process?
The process of honey collection is technically quite simple, however, it is time consuming. What our apiaries don’t do is cut corners. Very often in commercial honey production, honey is heated and spun in a centrifuge to speed up the harvest process, but this also kills all the beneficial aspects of the honey in the process. We are very adamant about cold extraction with all of our honey and make sure that every harvest is also heavily tested for pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics as well as the TA rating. With these tests you have a guarantee that the honey we have extracted will always be exactly what we say it will be.
Find out more about the test results of The Honey Colony’s products here.
Tell us more about the Scottish Heather Honey and its health benefits?
Our Scottish Heather is a very new addition to the roster. It’s a fantastic, full-bodied honey that goes well with anything from yogurt to toasted sourdough. There was recently a study conducted by FERA that found that our Heather honey contains ten times the amount of manganese than any other honey types. Manganese is an essential mineral that helps in a variety of ways in our body such as maintaining healthy bones and protecting tissues from damage.
Which honey is your favorite and why?
I’m going to have to go with Karri. It has such an amazing butterscotch-like flavor to it that I have never encountered before. The largest downside to Karri is that it is rare. The tree itself only flowers every 5+ years so it can be a real challenge to harvest a decent amount of it.
Best way to consume your delicious honey?
So many ways! I use it very often in yogurt or cereal but you can also eat it neat, spread it on toast or even drizzle onto your ice cream! It’s also perfect in a cheese platter or paired with a selection of your favorite cheeses.
Any new products or exciting projects on the horizon?
Soon! We have a few interesting ideas that we’re currently trying out so stay tuned.
To find out more about The Honey Colony and purchase their products, visit their website.