What does 'raw' mean?

When we say our honey is raw, we mean a few things.

First and foremost is that it has not been pasteurised or fine filtered.  We want the honey in our jars to be just as natural as it is when the bees produce it in their hives.  Pasteurisation is done using high temperatures (at least 63 degrees C), and fine-filtering removes much of the pollen and other small bits naturally found in honey.  These processes significantly damage the flavour and beneficial properties of the honey, and we want to make sure our products are as healthy, natural, and tasty as possible.  Any honey you see without the word 'raw' on the label will have been processed in these ways and possibly others.

We also only use unblended honey from individual beekeepers.  Most of the honeys you see in the supermarkets will have been produced by many different beekeepers in many different places (EU and non-EU), then blended together in a facility to ensure a very consistent end product.  All our honeys are unblended and come from individual beekeepers with their own hives and bees. 

To ensure the best quality honey possible, we will only ever carry completely unpasteurised, only coarse-filtered, completely raw honey - the way honey should be.

 

 

 

Why are some products labelled 'organic' and others are not? What is the difference between 'organic' and 'raw'?

While all of our honeys are raw, some are also 'organic'.  This means the beekeeper has had a third-party certifier inspect their hives, processes, and the land around the hives for sources of contamination.  The process can take three years to go through and is quite expensive, which means not all of our beekeepers have gone through the certification.  That said, all our beekeepers use natural, traditional processes without the use of harmful pesticides, and all place their hives in remote areas far from sources of pollution.  They also all have periodic testing of their honeys done to be sure there are no problems.

We consider all our products to be pure and completely natural.

If you'd like to learn more about the EU and UK organic certification processes, have a look here: https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/food-drink/apply-for-organic-certification/

 

 

 

Do your beekeepers feed sugar to their bees?

We do not purchase or sell any honeys that have been produced by bees while they have been fed any type of sugar solution or fondant. Our beekeepers always leave enough honey and pollen in the hives for the bees to keep themselves fed through the leaner parts of the year. The hives are designed such that there is a compartment for the queen and her bees to keep their brood and store enough honey and pollen for themselves and there are separate compartments, which keep the queen (and the baby bees) out, where the worker bees will store extra honey and pollen.  With years of experience in beekeeping in their regions, the beekeepers only take honey from the non-brood rearing areas of the hive, where the honey is excess to the needs of the bees.

The only circumstance under which our beekeepers would feed their bees is when the winter is particularly long and harsh and the bees would die without additional feeding. This is a very rare occurrence, but if the bees might die without extra help, we'd prefer the beekeepers keep their bees alive.  The bees would not be producing any harvestable honey during these periods as they would need it all for themselves, but that being said, even if there were some extra honey produced, we would not sell it.

So, if you are worried about consuming honey from bees fed on sugar, you'll be safe with us.

 

 

 

Why has my honey crystalised? Is something wrong with it?

No, nothing is wrong with your honey.  All honey crystalises.  Some types of honey (eg: acacia) take much longer than other types, but this is a completely natural process that will happen to all honeys sooner or later.  Honey which has been processed (pasteurised and fine-filtered) will generally take longer than raw honey to crystalise, but even this honey will crystalise eventually.

We only supply completely raw honey, which has the good bits still in it - the pollen and sometimes larger bits of propolis, beeswax and royal jelly.  So, don't worry if you notice small bits in your honey, but likewise, don't worry if you don't see them - individual grains of pollen are very, very small and may not be easy to see with the naked eye.  These bits give the natural sugars in honey 'seeds' from which to start crystalising, which means our honey will often set more quickly than other less raw honey.

The amount of time it takes for a particular honey to crystalise depends on numerous factors, including the temperature at which the honey is stored, the amount of pollen and other bits in the honey, the proportion of natural glucose, the moisture content, the size of the container, etc ...  All these factors together make it impossible to predict exactly when a particular honey will crystalise, but we update the state of each of our honeys every two weeks, so do check the product descriptions to see the current state of the honey you are interested in purchasing.

If you have found that your honey has started to crystalise and you would prefer it liquid you can do this:-

Put it on a radiator and drape a tea towel over the jars.

Then leave it overnight. If it's not liquid by morning then leave it a little longer.

You might think that the heat from this process will damage the honey - the important thing is that you don't heat the honey beyond 40 degrees (which is how hot the hive can get in the summer when the bees are at work evaporating moisture to thicken the honey).

If the radiators are very hot then put something like a book under the jars and then drape a tea towel over the jars.

The book will protect the honey from direct heat above 40 degrees from the radiator and the tea towel will ensure that hot air can circulate around the honey helping to liquefy it.

 

 

 

How can I test my honey?

Everyone wants to know their honey is pure and natural, especially these days where stories of fraud, contamination, and deception are constantly appearing.  This is why you'll find lots of home testing methods demonstrated online or being passed around by word of mouth.  Do not trust these!  It'd be great to think there are simple, at-home methods to accurately test your honey, but the truth is none of these methods will tell you much of anything about the honey's quality, purity, production, or anything else.  Burning your honey, dropping it in water or on your nail, shaking it up, looking for honeycomb patterns, etc. ...  They're all fake tests.

So how do you test honey?  Basically, it has to be tested in a lab.  There are a variety of tests than can be done, testing for the honey's general physical characteristics, the honey's pollen content, sugar content, pesticide amounts, etc ...  These can cost anywhere from £50 to £2000.  We work with our beekeepers to have some of these tests done periodically on different batches to be sure the quality is kept high.  So far, we have never found any sign of contamination or alteration among our beekeepers.  If we ever found one of our beekeepers to have engaged in deceptive practices, we would cut off our business relationship with them immediately and notify anyone affected.

We make sure to work directly with the beekeepers instead of going through lots of middle men.  This includes regular visit to the hives and locations where the honey is produced.  We also take part in beekeeping training to make sure we know exactly what to look for on our visits.  This ensures we know exactly where the honey has been produced, how it has been produced, and who has produced it.  We build long-term relationships with our beekeepers over the course of many years, establishing strong levels of trust.  You can find out more about our trips to visit the beekeepers by signing up for our email list and by checking out our blog.

We will only ever sell the highest quality, pure and natural honey - always raw, just as it comes from the hives.

 

 

 

Does honey expire or go off?

No! Honey never expires or goes off so long as it is kept in its container with the lid on (this prevents too much moisture from getting in, which may allow the yeasts in the honey to begin fermentation). It is unique amongst foods in this ability to stay good forever. Honey from hundreds and even thousands of years ago has been recovered from archeological sites, and it is still perfectly fine to eat.

All honeys are required to have a Best Before End (different from expiry) date, but this date is mostly to signify how long the beekeepers think it will be before the honeys will almost certainly be fully crystalised (some will crystalise far more quickly of course). The best before date also takes into account possible temperature variations and the repeated opening of the jars, which may, over time, degrade the colour and flavour of the honey, but this date is set very conservatively just to be sure.  In general, though, so long as it has been stored properly, honey past this date will still be perfectly safe and delicious no matter if it's runny, fully crystalised, or somewhere in between.

 

 

 

How do I store and use my Honey/Pollen/Propolis?

Honey, honeycomb and dried pollen are best stored with the lid fully closed and out of direct sunlight. If you can keep it somewhere that stays a bit warm (but not too hot), then the honey will generally stay runny a bit longer as well.

For chilled products such as our fresh pollen and fresh royal jelly, you should store the products in the refrigerator if you are going to be using them right away. Otherwise, they can be stored in the freezer for future use.

There are no specific dosage amounts for any of these products, but we would remind everyone that honey is a solution of natural sugars in water, and so care should be taken when consuming large amounts of honey. For royal jelly, we suggest a pea-sized amount each day. For pollen, we recommend a teaspoon per day. Finally, for propolis tincture, we suggest a few drops each day.

As with any products you haven't tried before, start with a small amount and see how you feel before increasing the quantity.

 

 

 

I just received a jar of the same type of honey I had in a previous order. Why does it taste/look different?

Because all our honeys are single-source (not taken from many places and blended), they reflect the conditions of the area in which the bees are located.  Different times of year and different years will have different weather conditions, which means the local plants will grow differently, and therefore different nectars will be available for the bees to collect.

This is also true for honeys of the same variety but come from different areas.  A thyme honey from Spain will taste a bit different from a thyme honey from Greece, and both will taste a bit different from thyme honey from Italy. This is both because of the different mix of plants in different regions and because the weather will be different. All of this adds to the uniqueness of each honey.  Honey is quite similar to wine in this way.

And don't forget that honey is always changing, and the honey you ordered previously may have changed from runny to crystalised or somewhere in-between since you last ordered. So, even if you have ordered honey of the same type and the same batch, it may have become more crystalised since your last order. This will have a slight effect on the perceived flavour because the solid crystals will take longer for your taste buds to pick up than runny honey. It will also have an effect on the colour of the honey, with crystalised honey looking lighter in colour due to the solid crystals reflecting light much more strongly than runny honey. 

We believe it's part of the fun and excitement of raw honey and most natural products! You never know exactly what you'll get, but it all tastes great. If you find you're purchasing honey that tastes exactly the same every time, it's probably been blended and processed for consistency, which we don't believe is good for the honey or for you.

 

 

 

Which honey is the best/tastiest/strongest?

Because our honeys are all single-source and mostly monofloral (primarily from a single type of plant), they all have different benefits and flavours!  We all have our own personal favourite's, and in the end, it mostly comes down to the individual. It's best to try a few and see which works best for you.

For some varieties, there are testers available for purchase here: https://www.therawhoneyshop.com/pages/search-results?q=tester&p=1

If you're new to the world of raw honey, and you're looking for a bit of guidance, though, we can offer a few tips:

  • Darker honeys tend to have stronger flavours (think treacle)
  • Lighter honeys often have more floral flavours (lavender, linden, etc ...)
  • Darker honeys tend to have a higher mineral content
  • Lighter honeys tend to crystalise more quickly
  • Every honey has its own properties, based on the plants the nectar comes from (eg: eucalyptus honey has a small bit of eucalyptus oil in it)
  • Some honeys are very bitter, like roasted coffee beans or very dark chocolate (eg: arbutus).  Try a tester first if you're not sure!

 

 

 

Where does the honey come from?

Most of our honeys come from various regions of Spain, which has lots of natural, wild areas with little human interference and a perfect climate for honeybees.  We also carry honey from Greece and Bulgaria, both of which have long, respected honey traditions.  Additionally, we sometimes have honeys from Portugal, France, Italy, Australia, and here in the UK.  We are always looking for new supplies, though, so this list may change in the future.

 

 

 

Why don’t you carry more UK honeys?

For better or worse, we love honey here in the UK, and people consume far more honey than is produced locally!  This makes the supply we can access quite small most of the time, which causes us a few added difficulties.  The UK also only produces a few varieties due to the mostly mixed environment, with very few areas in which there are large expanses where single types of nectar-producing plants dominate. Because of these reasons, the UK honey supply is often too limited for our shop.

Additionally, because the UK tends to have quite a lot of conventional agriculture and other built up areas, there are very few places where we would trust the honey not to be contaminated at least at a low level by pesticides or pollution.  This affects the bees and the honey.

We love to provide lots of interesting and exciting varieties of pure and natural raw honey to our customers, and for this, we need to look slightly further afield.  That said, we do support your local beekeepers where possible, and if you find a particularly delicious UK honey, please let us know!

 

 

 

Why don't you carry _______ honey?

There are many reasons we may not carry a particular honey. Some honeys are very difficult to import due to regulations. Some are very expensive and therefore difficult to offer at a good price to our customers. Some are in very limited supply, and so there is a lot of competition from other buyers. Some honeys are frequently counterfeited, and we only want to deal with reputable suppliers. There are some varieties of honey we have carried in the past, which have not sold well enough for us to keep selling them.

There are lots and lots of other reasons as well, but if there's a particular honey you're looking for, please let us know, and we will do our best to keep our eyes open for it.

 

 

 

My regular honey is out of stock, will you get any more?

Hopefully! Some of our honeys are quite seasonal and so aren't available at all times of the year. Sometimes, certain honeys don't do well in certain years due to adverse weather conditions, which means we may have to wait until the next season. Sometimes, we lose a supplier of a particular honey and have to look for other suppliers to fill the gap.

If there's a honey you used to purchase but it's now out of stock, please use the 'Email Me When Available' button on the product page, and we will get in touch as soon as we have more in stock.

 

 

 

What is unique about Manuka?

There is a lot of debate about Manuka.

Many people question whether it is more antibacterial than other honeys. What's so special about it and why is it so expensive?

Due to the unique nature, unfortunately there has been a lot of fake Manuka in the shops and it can be difficult to determine which is genuine and which is fake.

All raw honey has some sort of antibacterial quality, not just Manuka. It’s mainly due to the hydrogen peroxide that bee enzymes release into the honey. However, this tends to get weaker over time.

But the substance in Manuka that gives it its antibacterial quality increases for a couple of years or so after it is harvested. And it’s not affected by light or heat, like the antibaceterial hydrogen peroxide that exists in all honeys.

The main substance that gives Manuka its antibacterial quality is called Methylglyoxal (MGO). Sometimes you will see a rating on Manuka, called UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) or sometimes it might be called the NPA (Non Peroxide Activity).or MGO. 

Whatever the rating system it is related to the amount of Methylglyoxal in the honey. 10+ is reckoned to be pretty good. The higher the rating the more antibacterial the honey is.

How can I be sure your Manuka is genuine? 

It is a fact that there is more Manuka sold in the World than produced which obviously shows you how much fake Manuka is being sold!

In response the New Zealand government has set up a system for authenticating all Manuka  All honey labelled as manuka for export must be tested by a New Zealand Government Ministry for Primary ndustries recognised laboratory to make sure it meets the new manuka honey definition. Our Manuka was tested in this way.

We also tested it ourselves independently and this confirmed the lab test from New Zealand.

Why is your Manuka so expensive?

A basic fact about Manuka is that the demand is greater than the supply. This in itself pushes the price up.

The other main fact making it much more expensive than other honeys is that Manuka has an antibacterial quality that sets it apart from other honeys. Whilst other honeys are also antibacterial,  light and heat diminish this quality over time. Whereas the antibacterial quality of Manuka actually increases for a couple of years or more after it is harvested. It is also unaffected by heat and light. So it is okay to use it therapeutically in hot drinks,  unlike raw honey from other plants and trees. 

There are other factors about our Manuka that makes it a little more expensive than other Manukas on the market.

Firstly, this is because it is single source and is produced by an artisan beekeeper, who takes great care to produce it to the highest standards possible. Because of this she is able to charge a little more for it.  Most Manuka sold in the UK is sold by middlemen - companies who buy Manuka off a range of producers - so you don't know anything about the actual beekeeper and his or her production methods. The middleman drives the price down he or she pays by getting the different beekeepers to compete on price.  

We also take extra steps beyond those that other honey companies take.

We invest a lot of time in learning about the beekeeper and the places the honey is produced in.  With our Manuka we can vouch for the quality because we know exactly how it was produced and all about the place in was produced in. Debbie is an artisan beekeeper who is based right next to a national park and her bees collect the Manuka on the slopes of a mountain in the park. This is a very wild place and is perfect for the bees.  They can drink from the pure waters of the river Ruamahunga.  Pure water is very important for the quality of the honey. They also breathe the pure mountain air, another thing that is important for their health and the quality of the honey. There are no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides used in the national park, so the honeys is not contaminated in any way. Also, another important factor for us that Debbie is a beekeeper who cares very much for the welfare of her bees  Happy bees produce better honey.

 

 

 

Is local honey better for curing hay fever?

At this point in time, there is no reliable, widely-accepted scientific research indicating that local honey, or any honey for that matter, has positive effects on allergies. Until there is a significant amount of research showing positive effects, we cannot say that honey will help with this.  We do however, have many customers who have reported benefits after taking our honey, so you may find it helps you as well.  The best way to find out is to try it yourself and see!

 

 

 

Which honey will cure/help with my ________?  Is honey safe if I have ________ condition?

We are not medical experts, and due to current regulations we are not able to give any guarantees on whether or not our products will cure or help with or be safe for any ailment or condition.  Nor are we able to say with certainty how our products may interact with other treatments or health regimens.  Please take care if you have any concerns about any product you may be thinking of purchasing.  Do your research and consult your GP or relevant physician.  We have many customers with a variety of conditions, who swear by the benefits of our honey, but we cannot verify or endorse any of these claims or their applicability to you.

 

 

 

Can I feed raw honey to my baby? 

Medical advice from the Government is that you shouldn't give honey to children under the age of 1 year or to anyone with an underdeveloped or compromised immune system due to the potential presence of the bacterium causing botulism (Clostridium botulinum).

However, from the research we’ve seen and offical advice, our raw products should be safe for consumption while pregnant. The possible botulism spores in the products should be wiped out by the mother’s digestive tract and immune system (assuming the mother doesn’t have a compromised immune system) well before they can turn into full-blown botulism. Additionally, it is not currently believed to be possible for the botulism toxin to get through the placenta even in the case of the mother contracting botulism, which, again, is extremely unlikely for a healthy person.

That said, we’re not doctors, and so this advice shouldn’t be taken as a replacement for speaking with a doctor.

 

 

 

How can I order large quantities of honey from you?

If you would like to order large quantities of honey from us (30kg+), please check the details on the Wholesale page of our site for more details.  You'll also find a link to the available discounts for bulk orders.

 

 

 

Do you have any offers or discounts?

Yes! We offer a range of discounts depending on the amount you order. The more you buy, the better discount you get!  Have a look at our discounts page, and let us know if you have any questions.

If you're searching for marked down items, we have a section for sale and clearance items. Generally, these are items we have overstocked and are looking to shift. Sometimes we also have short-dated items and items with damaged labels or other cosmetic issues, which means we can mark them down for a bit of a saving for you. Have a look here!

We also often have special deals running for specific products. The best way to find out when there are special offers is to sign up for our mailing list, as this is the first, and sometimes only, place where we advertise our special offers.

 

 

 

The Honey Points Scheme (called Honey Rewards)

HOW DOES IT WORK

You automatically get 200 Honey Points once you become a member, then you get 1 point for each pound you spend! Don't forget to also check out the different actions available that can earn you extra points. 

Click on the orange button titled "honey rewards" 

This will take you to the home page, you will see an orange button that says "start collecting honey reward points". Click on this and you will be asked to enter your first name, last name, email and then a password of your choosing.

Enter your email address for the username and create a password. Once you have done this you will be sent an email to the address you have entered. You need to go into this email and click on the link given to verify your account. 

Once you have clicked on this link your honey rewards account is up and running, and your points will load automatically each time you place an order.

Just remember to sign into your account before making any new orders! 


REDEEMING YOUR POINTS 


To see how you can exchange your points for rewards please:

1) Click on the "Honey Points" button and scroll down to the the bar that says "All Rewards"/"Ways to redeem" and click on it. 

Here you will see all the rewards that are currently available and the number of points you need to unlock them.

2) Once you decide on a reward, click on it and the number of points needed will be subtracted from your Honey Points account. The reward should now appear in your cart and you can check out with the reward.

3) This same code will also be emailed to you so you can either use this code with your current order or save it to use as when you want to.

Clicking on an item by mistake:

If you clicked by mistake to claim a reward and have seen that the points have already been subtracted from your account do not worry. Just let us know about this by emailing [email protected] and we will be able to cancel the reward and give the points back for you.

Referring a friend


1) To refer a friend, please click on the Honey Rewards button in the top right corner of the screen.

2) Scroll down in the Honey Points Menu until you reach the tab that says "Refer your friends". Please click on the little envelope icon that says "Email" and type your friend's email address there, and press send.


Your friend will receive an email with a code that they have to add at check out, once they have selected items to the value of £25 or more. When they have added the code the total will be discounted.

3) Once the friend has placed and paid for their order, you will receive an email with your discount code, that you can use for your next order.

IMPORTANT: Please note that Honey Points reward vouchers and discount codes can not be granted for: 


1) referrals outside the Honey Points Scheme. If you want to refer somebody, this must be done through the Honey Points Menu.

2) for phone orders. The discount codes can only be added at check out, when placing an order online.

For any other questions regarding the Honey Points, please email us at [email protected]

 

 

 

There was a problem with the order I received. What should I do? 

Please get in touch with us at

[email protected] or +44 1273 682 109, and we will do our best to assist. Let us know exactly what the issue is, and we will come back to you as soon as possible.

 

If you discover your jar has broken in transit (unfortunately, it does happen on rare occasions no matter how well we protect everything), please do be careful of any broken glass.  We would recommend handling the broken jar as little as possible and wearing gloves or taking other protective measures.

Photos are needed for refunds or replacements, so if you are keen to get rid of a broken jar of honey (they can be quite a mess), please take a couple of photographs for us first.

 

 

 

I've just received my order, and some honey has leaked from the jar, is my honey safe to eat?

We work with small and medium-scale beekeepers and not large, industrial-scale honey producers. The beekeepers send the honey to us already in jars (or tubs), packed at their facilities. Most of these beekeepers hand-fill and hand-tighten the jars, and though they do their best not to overfill the jars and to make sure the lids are on as tightly as possible, sometimes things aren't as 'perfect' as they would be with factory-sealed products. In travelling around many, many small markets and fairs, we've found this to be very common among small-scale beekeepers. We do continue to work with our beekeepers and packers to minimise leakages, but they will likely continue to happen from time to time.

If you have had a small honey leak, you can wipe the honey off of the jar using a  cloth with some warm water. We find warm water is normally enough to wipe clean any leak. If the honey has leaked but is secure in its packaging then it is safe to eat. As honey has natural antibacterial elements it will not become stale, or gather germs. 

That said, if a large amount of honey has leaked out do contact us at [email protected] or +44 1273 682 109, and we will do our best to assist.

 

 

 

Is your packaging environmentally friendly?

We’re currently using foam peanuts made from potato starch that are biodegradable and completely dissolve when placed in water. Sometimes we do have to use green recycled polystyrene and some bubble wrap.  We avoid these whenever possible but sometimes orders do require extra protection. Obviously we always want to ensure your order arrives without any damage because every broken jar wastes the work of thousands of honeybees!

 

 

 

Where are you located? Can I visit?

We have a small admin office in Hove and all of our honey is stored at our warehouse just down the road in Uckfield.  So when you order from us its the team at the warehouse that will pack and send it to you.  Unfortunately we don't have the space in our office for storing honey so the best way is always to order online or just give us a call and we will gladly place the order over the phone for you. 01273 682109.

 

 

 

I see you sell some of your honey in tins. I've heard that metal can contaminate honey. Is it safe to eat?

Stainless steel is the metal used for the tins and stainless steel is widely used in honey storage.

The beekeepers store their honey in stainless steel drums and all the equipment used for honey extraction - e.g. the extractor and storage tanks - is made of stainless steel.

Food storage standards are strict in the EU and stainless steel seems to be recommended material for honey when glass or plastic is not used.

With stainless steel, you get a surface that is more stable and less likely to leach than other metals. 

In any case, the inside of the tins are coated, so there is a very low risk of any type of leaching.

What some cite as a concern for stainless steel is the leaching of nickel, a potentially toxic metal fairly high up on the list of priority toxins. Yet, because the alloy (combination of metals used) in stainless steel is more stable than other materials you are less likely to have any leaching, of any metal, including nickel.