Honey is a commodity – in fact, it is an extremely sweet and tasty one with an abundance of benefits! Honey is commonly seen in many scrumptious recipes such as cakes and pastries, and its taste could not be more addictive. Wanting to eat spoonfuls of honey straight from the jar could not be more tempting!
Besides these sweet treats, honey is also found in many skincare products, like our new and improved Honey Matcha Cleansing Drops. Honey is a star player in this cleanser, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is one of the reasons why we recommend this cleanser to those with acne-prone skin. Honey is also a natural humectant, which means that it is able to attract and retain water. This helps to keep your skin feeling supple, bouncy and radiant, while providing round-the-clock hydration to your skin.
As honey becomes increasingly accessible and included in many everyday staples, we started to wonder how the delectable honey jar sitting pretty in its glory on the shelf came about. To learn more about the honey trade and its intricacies, we sat down with the founder of The Rare Honey Company, Harry Grover, to talk about where his honey comes from and how he got started. Lets just say we could not be more BEEholden to our little friends that work tirelessly to provide us with delicious jars of honey! 🐝
1) Tell us more about The Rare Honey Company.
The Rare Honey Company was formed by myself and two friends, who are brothers-in-law. They're bee keepers who own and manage their own hives in the South West region of Western Australia. I spent a lot of my childhood in the South West and am familiar with the landscape and natural produce. Our neighbours on our farm were also beekeepers and as kids we were lucky enough to get jars of their wonderful honey.
Western Australia is one of the best locations in the world for bee keeping. This is because of its unspoilt wilderness, with clean air, water and forests and some very unique species of eucalypt trees that produce exceptional honeys. Western Australia also has some of the best bio-security in the world so the bees are not exposed to introduced diseases – a major problem in other honey producing countries like the United States.
2) How did your brand and products come about?
I wanted to shine a light on the industry and create a brand that best exemplifies the purity and quality of these amazing honeys, and to expose consumers in Singapore and the region to high quality premium honeys, which are all traceable and tested for their purity and bioactivity.
3) What is the process of harvesting honey like?
It is very labour intensive and time consuming! All the honeys are produced, filtered and bottled raw by hand and everything is done by our own small team – the two brothers and their family. There is also a lot of traveling involved – going from different apiary sites to check on the health of the hives.
4) An insight you shared that we found extremely interesting would be the fraudulence in the honey industry. How do we know that the honey we are buying is the real deal?
It is actually very difficult to ascertain whether or not you are buying the real deal, as so much honey off the shelf has been adulterated with different types of sugar syrups. The National Measurement Institute, Australia’s peak body, uses something called the C4 test which checks the different sugars in the honey. But Australia only tests about 5% of its imported honey, and a lot of the commercial honey coming from Australia has been bulked up with imported honeys from China and other countries. Even the C4 test is fallible with certain hidden sugar syrups. The best option is to buy from the own producer or farmer, and check to see if they have done their own honeys tested for purity.
5) Why is education around bees and beekeeping so important?
Einstein famously said “If the bees disappear, then we are next”. They pollinate so much of the food we eat. More than two-thirds of the food we eat in Australia is thanks to bee pollination. For example, if you have ever eaten an almond, avocado, or had a cup of coffee these are all thanks to the bees.
6) What is an interesting myth or fun fact about bees?
Fun fact – it takes thousands of bees flying to millions of flowers to produce a single jar of honey. A single bee will only produce about an eighth of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime. This shows just how rare real honey is, particularly mono-floral honey (single flower honey – meaning the bees have only been feeding off one particular species, like Manuka, Jarrah, or Redgum trees.)
7) What are the primary benefits of honey, especially for women?
Honey has a host of benefits! It can help to ward off coughs and colds, and can soothe sore throats and mouth ulcers. It can also boost your immune system and provide allergy relief. Besides, honey comprise more fructose than glucose, which contributes it low glycemic index. This makes it a healthier and sweeter alternative!
8) What is your favourite type of honey and why?
I personally love the taste of Redgum Honey. It has a lighter flavor than Jarrah Honey, but it is very delicate and great to eat spoonfuls straight from the jar.
9) In your opinion, what is the best way to consume honey?
It depends on your personal preference! Taken ‘neat’, drizzled on yoghurt or stirred into chamomile tea are some of my favourites. My wife also uses our Coastal Wildflower Honey a lot for baking and it gives bakes a much greater depth of flavor than just using normal sugar.
10) Since it is Mothers’ Day, can you share more about how your mother influenced you to be the person you are today?
My mum always says ‘Open yourself up to the universe and keep your eyes open’. It seems a little hippy! But I take it to mean – be open to new ideas, opportunities and ways of doing things. It’s a philosophy that I believe has definitely helped me in my different business ventures.