The Raw Honey Shop's owner Tim

Back more than 20 years ago, on a hot July day, a spur of the moment decision led me down a life path I could never have imagined.

It was a very hot summer, really really hot. My girlfriend Karen (who later became my wife) and I were on holiday, driving around the south west of France.

We were roasting and saw on the map a lake, just over the border; in Spain. So, we decided to head for it for a refreshing swim.

So, I started driving. I remember she said, ‘We’ll be cooling off in the water in a couple of hours.'

Four hours later, we were lost high in the Pyrenees mountains (that lie between France and Spain). It was getting dark and we were REALLY tired and crabby.
Fortunately, I spotted a little campsite. We pulled in, put the tent up and fell into a deep sleep.

Ten hours later I awoke with the heat beating down. I crawled out, slightly groggy, and found myself staring at what I could only describe as paradise – the most beautiful place I had ever seen. That began a love affair with this region.

We spent the next week camping in the Pyrenees, in this incredibly wild area where it really did seem like time had stopped. This was the Spain of old, not the fast-developing Spain of the late 90's boom. This was an incredibly wild area.

We couldn't meet the demand from friends and family - this alerted us to the fact that we might be onto something really exceptional.
The little Spanish border town of Bielsa.

On the way back to France we stopped at a little border town, Bielsa, high in the mountains, to pick up some gifts. It was here that we discovered Ramon's honey.

There were shelves stacked with honey in big one kilo jars, many varieties like Oak and Wild Lavender that I had never heard of.

When we opened the jars back in England I was flabbergasted as was Karen by the strength of the flavour and the thick consistency. This was unlike anything we had ever tried before. There was no comparison with the supermarket honey we had been eating before.

This really was a moment of revelation - the discovery of proper honey, something completely different to that stuff you get in the supermarket.

From then on, the trips to the Spanish Pyrenees became an annual event for us. Always we would stop at the shop in Bielsa to buy larger and larger amounts of Ramon's amazing honey…

Soon we couldn't meet the demand from friends and family – and we realised that we might be onto something really special.

The Beekeepers.

So, we began doing Farmers Markets and looking for beekeepers who could supply us with different kinds of honey, like the amazing raw honey we first tasted, from the shop in Bielsa.
First there was Ramon, the supplier to the shop in Bielsa.

Then in an organic fair in Cuidad Real, Spain we met a fourth generation organic beekeeper called Antonio, whose hives are mainly based in the  mountain ranges to the north of Madrid. He’s been with us now since 2008.

Today, he is largely retired and his son Dani and son in law Ruben run the business, which provides us with our largest range of organic honey varieties.

At that same fair in Cuidad Real we met the mother and daughter team of Luisa and Olaya, organic beekeepers who live in Asturias in the north-west of Span. Now Olaya’s younger brother has also joined the business.

The family’s bees produce a  superb Forest honey as well other honeys from the forests and mountain top moors in Asturias, a remote and sparsely populated area that is one of Spain’s secret wilderness gems.

I built a website and the business continued to grow and we found ourselves supplying customers, not just in the UK but all over the world.

Organic Greek beekeeper Thomas and his familyAround 2015 I was trying to find some Greek suppliers, but without luck. Then one day Thomas and his partner Christina wandered into our little warehouse in Brighton. At the time Thomas was studying at our Brighton University and he told us all about his family’s honey operation in Greece.

Soon we were visiting him in Greece and stocking his family’s amazing honeys from the mountains and forests of central Greece.

Then I met Asterios, who has introduced us to a network of artisan beekeepers – with hives in places like Mount Olympus and in remote parts of the Peloponnese where we get one of the best honeys we have ever stocked, a superb Vanilla Fir.

Today, we spend a lot of time researching raw honey and have a wonderful team of beekeepers, not just from Spain and Greece but also other countries like Lithuania, Hungary and France supplying us.

This is what we believe in – our quality standards.

Buy a jar of honey in the supermarket and the likelihood is that it is a blend of honey from countries around the world, this means you have no way of knowing anything about the source. It will also have been highly processed.

We believe in unprocessed honey, honey that is as it was in the hive.

And, we believe in connecting you, the customer, with the source of this unprocessed honey. So that you know exactly where the honey you are buying comes from, who it comes from and what plant or tree it comes from. You also need assurances that it is not contaminated.

We prefer certified organic as that comes with certain safeguards, like visits from the certifier to the beekeeper with no forewarning and regular tests of the honey.

Anyway, below is the process we go through to select new honeys.

  • Firstly, if a new beekeeper contacts us we ask for samples and documentation.
  • If the honey passes our taste test then we send a sample to be lab analysed.
  • If it comes back from the lab with a good test result, showing it is truly raw and pure then we may order a small batch.
  • Sometimes, with the dark honeys, like Oak, Forest, Chestnut and Mountain we may send them for a TA test (Total Activity Test). This measures their antibacterial potency, in a similar way to the way Manuka is graded. We have discovered that many dark honeys have a potency equal to or exceeding Manuka.
  • Then either myself or Claire (Production Manager) will visit the beekeeper to see the hives in location, observe their practices, see the honey extracted and really get to know them.
  • Finally, the ultimate test is you the customer. If the honey proves popular then we will decide to stock it on a regular basis.

 

Who is the Raw Honey Shop Team?

The Raw Honey Shop is based in Brighton, UK. We are a small team of four people.

First, let me say, many online businesses make it difficult to contact them. You struggle to find an email address, let alone a phone number or postal address. Sometimes you don’t even know what country the business is in.

 We know many of us customers and speak to them on a regular basis. We believe in making it as easy as possible for customers to contact us and we are quite happy to talk through any questions or concerns you have.

In the photo: left to right there & there's me (Tim), Claire (Marketing Manager), Prue (Customer Care & Publications) and Kish (Customer Care & Wholesale). Most likely if you call up or email then you will get to speak to Prue or Kish.

 

Don’t ever hesitate to call us on +44 (0)1273 682109. Or you can email on info@therawhoneyshop.com with your phone number and we will call you back.

We are here (GMT) from 9.30pm to 5.30pm but if you are outside those times please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as we return to the office.

There is also a chat facility on the website, we will respond during our office hours and outside that you can get automated responses to some common queries, such as, where is my order.

Finally, our honey isn’t just available in the UK. We send honey internationally, including the middle east, far-east, USA and throughout Europe – so if you are outside the UK you can still order.

 

Tim, Raw Honey Shop Owner.

Postscript:

The Raw Honey Shop (originally known as Pyrenees honey) was a collaboration between myself and Karen, my wife. However, she is no longer with me, having passed away a few years back after a long illness. She wanted me to continue the business, which I have done.
You should know that there is a lot more to the story behind The Raw Honey Shop than what I have recounted here, many discoveries and revelations along the way. You can download the full story here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen, joint founder of The Raw Honey Shop

POSTSCRIPT: I am Tim, the owner of the Raw Honey Shop. I used to run it with my wife Karen, but she died a few years ago after a long illness. She told me she wanted me to continue after her passing and that is what I am now doing.

The Raw Honey Shop's owner Tim

Back more than 20 years ago, on a hot July day, a spur of the moment decision led me down a life path I could never have imagined.

It was a very hot summer, really really hot. My girlfriend Karen (who later became my wife) and I were on holiday, driving around the south west of France.

We were roasting and saw on the map a lake, just over the border; in Spain. So, we decided to head for it for a refreshing swim.

So, I started driving. I remember she said, ‘We’ll be cooling off in the water in a couple of hours.'

Four hours later, we were lost high in the Pyrenees mountains (that lie between France and Spain). It was getting dark and we were REALLY tired and crabby.
Fortunately, I spotted a little campsite. We pulled in, put the tent up and fell into a deep sleep.

Ten hours later I awoke with the heat beating down. I crawled out, slightly groggy, and found myself staring at what I could only describe as paradise – the most beautiful place I had ever seen. That began a love affair with this region.

We spent the next week camping in the Pyrenees, in this incredibly wild area where it really did seem like time had stopped. This was the Spain of old, not the fast-developing Spain of the late 90's boom. This was an incredibly wild area.

We couldn't meet the demand from friends and family - this alerted us to the fact that we might be onto something really exceptional.
The little Spanish border town of Bielsa.

On the way back to France we stopped at a little border town, Bielsa, high in the mountains, to pick up some gifts. It was here that we discovered Ramon's honey.

There were shelves stacked with honey in big one kilo jars, many varieties like Oak and Wild Lavender that I had never heard of.

When we opened the jars back in England I was flabbergasted as was Karen by the strength of the flavour and the thick consistency. This was unlike anything we had ever tried before. There was no comparison with the supermarket honey we had been eating before.

This really was a moment of revelation - the discovery of proper honey, something completely different to that stuff you get in the supermarket.

From then on, the trips to the Spanish Pyrenees became an annual event for us. Always we would stop at the shop in Bielsa to buy larger and larger amounts of Ramon's amazing honey…

Soon we couldn't meet the demand from friends and family – and we realised that we might be onto something really special.

The Beekeepers.

So, we began doing Farmers Markets and looking for beekeepers who could supply us with different kinds of honey, like the amazing raw honey we first tasted, from the shop in Bielsa.
First there was Ramon, the supplier to the shop in Bielsa.

Then in an organic fair in Cuidad Real, Spain we met a fourth generation organic beekeeper called Antonio, whose hives are mainly based in the  mountain ranges to the north of Madrid. He’s been with us now since 2008.

Today, he is largely retired and his son Dani and son in law Ruben run the business, which provides us with our largest range of organic honey varieties.

At that same fair in Cuidad Real we met the mother and daughter team of Luisa and Olaya, organic beekeepers who live in Asturias in the north-west of Span. Now Olaya’s younger brother has also joined the business.

The family’s bees produce a  superb Forest honey as well other honeys from the forests and mountain top moors in Asturias, a remote and sparsely populated area that is one of Spain’s secret wilderness gems.

I built a website and the business continued to grow and we found ourselves supplying customers, not just in the UK but all over the world.

Organic Greek beekeeper Thomas and his familyAround 2015 I was trying to find some Greek suppliers, but without luck. Then one day Thomas and his partner Christina wandered into our little warehouse in Brighton. At the time Thomas was studying at our Brighton University and he told us all about his family’s honey operation in Greece.

Soon we were visiting him in Greece and stocking his family’s amazing honeys from the mountains and forests of central Greece.

Then I met Asterios, who has introduced us to a network of artisan beekeepers – with hives in places like Mount Olympus and in remote parts of the Peloponnese where we get one of the best honeys we have ever stocked, a superb Vanilla Fir.

Today, we spend a lot of time researching raw honey and have a wonderful team of beekeepers, not just from Spain and Greece but also other countries like Lithuania, Hungary and France supplying us.

This is what we believe in – our quality standards.

Buy a jar of honey in the supermarket and the likelihood is that it is a blend of honey from countries around the world, this means you have no way of knowing anything about the source. It will also have been highly processed.

We believe in unprocessed honey, honey that is as it was in the hive.

And, we believe in connecting you, the customer, with the source of this unprocessed honey. So that you know exactly where the honey you are buying comes from, who it comes from and what plant or tree it comes from. You also need assurances that it is not contaminated.

We prefer certified organic as that comes with certain safeguards, like visits from the certifier to the beekeeper with no forewarning and regular tests of the honey.

Anyway, below is the process we go through to select new honeys.

  • Firstly, if a new beekeeper contacts us we ask for samples and documentation.
  • If the honey passes our taste test then we send a sample to be lab analysed.
  • If it comes back from the lab with a good test result, showing it is truly raw and pure then we may order a small batch.
  • Sometimes, with the dark honeys, like Oak, Forest, Chestnut and Mountain we may send them for a TA test (Total Activity Test). This measures their antibacterial potency, in a similar way to the way Manuka is graded. We have discovered that many dark honeys have a potency equal to or exceeding Manuka.
  • Then either myself or Claire (Production Manager) will visit the beekeeper to see the hives in location, observe their practices, see the honey extracted and really get to know them.
  • Finally, the ultimate test is you the customer. If the honey proves popular then we will decide to stock it on a regular basis.

 

Who is the Raw Honey Shop Team?

The Raw Honey Shop is based in Brighton, UK. We are a small team of four people.

First, let me say, many online businesses make it difficult to contact them. You struggle to find an email address, let alone a phone number or postal address. Sometimes you don’t even know what country the business is in.

 We know many of us customers and speak to them on a regular basis. We believe in making it as easy as possible for customers to contact us and we are quite happy to talk through any questions or concerns you have.

In the photo: left to right there & there's me (Tim), Claire (Marketing Manager), Prue (Customer Care & Publications) and Kish (Customer Care & Wholesale). Most likely if you call up or email then you will get to speak to Prue or Kish.

 

Don’t ever hesitate to call us on +44 (0)1273 682109. Or you can email on info@therawhoneyshop.com with your phone number and we will call you back.

We are here (GMT) from 9.30pm to 5.30pm but if you are outside those times please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as we return to the office.

There is also a chat facility on the website, we will respond during our office hours and outside that you can get automated responses to some common queries, such as, where is my order.

Finally, our honey isn’t just available in the UK. We send honey internationally, including the middle east, far-east, USA and throughout Europe – so if you are outside the UK you can still order.

 

Tim, Raw Honey Shop Owner.

Postscript:

The Raw Honey Shop (originally known as Pyrenees honey) was a collaboration between myself and Karen, my wife. However, she is no longer with me, having passed away a few years back after a long illness. She wanted me to continue the business, which I have done.
You should know that there is a lot more to the story behind The Raw Honey Shop than what I have recounted here, many discoveries and revelations along the way. You can download the full story here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen, joint founder of The Raw Honey Shop

POSTSCRIPT: I am Tim, the owner of the Raw Honey Shop. I used to run it with my wife Karen, but she died a few years ago after a long illness. She told me she wanted me to continue after her passing and that is what I am now doing.