New Netflix Series "Rotten" Got Us Buzzin'

January 05, 2018 5 Comments

In its debut episode "Lawyers, Guns, and Honey," a new Netflix-produced show Rotten explores the rise of corruption and profiteering in the honey industry. The beautifully-made documentary not only shows the typical process in the industrial honey production, but also delves into "Honeygate," a successful sting operation that revealed the flow of fake honey from China.

Highly-processed "honey" has become an issue at the beginning of this century, in response to an incredible demand for honey and the decline of bee population all over the world. By complicating the nature of honey production through dehydration, ultrafiltration, and flavoring, large industrial honey brokers and packers are undercutting both consumers and real, honest beekeepers. See below, as we detail our own process for making the sweet stuff the right way as opposed to the "Big Honey" way:

Ames Farm Honey Source and Rotten Documentary

In either instance, the end consumer expects to get an appealing, yet affordable product. On the "Big Honey" side, can the end product actually be considered honey? Looks can be deceiving as the honey may appear perfectly golden and viscous, but professional mellisopalynologists (pollen analysts) have all the tools to determine honey's authenticity (or lack thereof). "Big Honey" often fails this test, yet fake honey continues to show up at big grocery stores and in food production, unbeknownst to the consumer.

Consider the hard work that honeybees put into making real honey, a typical hive traveling approximately 55,000 miles to make a pound of the good stuff. Real honey has been and will always be a healthful, precious commodity, so expect to pay a fair price for the bees' labor. Luckily for you, we strive to keep our high-quality honey and beeswax items affordable, and you can easily find us online, on local co-op shelves and at several Minneapolis farmers markets. Unlike "Big Honey," you can simply call us with questions about the source of our products and how we get from flower to jar within a season.

Ames Farm Honey Beekeeper on Duty

Ames Farm Honey Honeybee and Milkweed

We love that Rotten's episode on honey laundering points out the necessity to think small and local when it comes to finding good food. By supporting local honey producers like Ames Farm, honey lovers not only keep us in business, but also help us take good care of our honeybee hives and foraging pasture. Take a look at Rotten's first installment in its 6-part series and let us know what you think in the comments below. As a special promotion through March 2, enjoy 10% off any order of raw single source honey by using code "rotten" at checkout.

5 Responses

Heather Jensen
Heather Jensen

March 28, 2018

I have been watching Rotten, on Netflix. I only buy local honey anyway, but after watching this series, I have made others aware of the importance of doing so. Just found your honey at Trader Joe’s in West Des Moines, IA. I got the buckwheat honey, love it! They had several other kinds of honey that I will have to go back and get. ❤️


January 23, 2018

Since you are using the VSH genetics, are you using or familiar with the Saskatraz breeding program. I’ve read up on those and plan on ordering a package this spring. I’m hoping that they will be better at dealing with the winters here in Wisconsin. My Italians are doing pretty well, but wintering in a smaller cluster with a large spring build up, as the reports of the Saskatraz do, would mean a less likely chance of starvation over the winter.


January 23, 2018

I was pretty surprised by the fact that they medicate the bees too. As a beekeeper myself, I only use essential oils to help control mites and keep my bees healthy. That documentary did tell the public a few things that I have been telling people for quite some time and that is most of the junk in the stores that says “Pure” honey is just sugar water or some other sweetener. Comparing what they are doing to the same thing they do in the drug world is spot on.

Ames Farm
Ames Farm

January 09, 2018

Thanks for the question, Diana. We do not medicate, but instead use VSH genetics—a selective breeding program run by the USDA that produces bees that exhibit a hygienic behavior that solves foulbrood, the most common reason beekeepers use antibiotics. We also rotate and destroy old brood combs that may contain foulbrood spores.


January 08, 2018

I did not know until watching this show on Netflix, that medicating bees is a common practice. Is that part of your bee keeping?
Thank you.

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