One of the joys of beekeeping is sharing the natural goodness that honeybees create in products like raw honey and pollen, which bees use for their own benefits within the hive. There are also other by-products of life in the hive like propolis and beeswax that Ames Farm harvests each year and turns into useful, apitherapeutic goodies for humans.
You may have noticed a few new wellness products available in our online store, so let's take a moment to delve into their benefits and introduce new offerings like our Apitherapy Box and propolis. All our products are made in Watertown, MN at our apiary, and we're glad we can offer the highest quality honey and bee products straight from the hive to our customers.
Our beloved specialty at the farm is MN-grown single source raw honey, extracted in small localized batches and always labeled with the respective hive number, location, and year. Over 18 honey varieties come and go in stock throughout the year based on each season's crop. In 2017, for example, the honeybees made a huge harvest of June-blossoming basswood nectar, while in 2018 they brought back a lot more late-season honeys such as fall wild flowers and autumnal buckwheat. Availability of certain honeys depends on lots of environmental factors, like the amount of sunshine and rain in each season. If you don't see your favorite variety in stock, we're happy to recommend a similar available type.
Whether dissolved in tea, cocktails, or spread over toast, raw honey boasts over 200 components such as enzymes, amino acids, and minerals, making it an easily digestible and accessible super food. Its beneficial properties extend to anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial perks that may help soothe irritation like a sore throat or stave off infection on a cut. Locally produced raw honey might also help reduce floral allergies, depending on the time of year. Looking for more information on why some raw honey is hard? Check out our blog post about honey crystallization here.
Honeybees gather pollen from plant anthers as they forage on different blossoms, packing the nutrient-rich plant material into small nuggets stored on their hind legs (bee's knees!). Once field bees return with the pollen baskets, they build "bee bread" with it to use as a protein source within the hive. We collect pollen only on a need basis in short week-long windows as bees enter the hive by using special pollen-removing screens.
We offer bee pollen in 2 oz and 5.5 oz jars, bottled by time in the season (and floral variety). Like raw local honey, bee pollen is usually sought for seasonal allergy relief. This is why it's crucial that we label our product with the location and collection time on each jar. A great source of protein and vitamins, pollen can easily be eaten in smoothies, yogurt and cereal, and sprinkled on top of cocktails. Colorful but not particularly flavorful, pollen grains range from sweet to slightly bitter and sour to chalky and have a soft, delicate texture.
Honeybees collect resins from tree buds and flowers to mix with their own saliva and beeswax and to form a certain "bee glue" also known as propolis. This sticky, viscous anti-septic substance is then used by bees to seal up cracks and openings in the hive, protecting their hive environment against infections, harsh weather, and predators. Propolis is a vital part of the hive's immunity system, acting as a disinfectant agent. For human consumption, studies are ongoing about possible benefits of adding propolis to treatment against cancer, UV radiation, and inflammation.
This exciting new addition to the Ames Farm line-up is made from one of the most potent parts of the beehive ecosystem. We're proud to offer a high-quality MN-grown propolis tincture infused in whole grain alcohol and carefully produced in small batches. A small container packs a big punch, as this 30% propolis tincture is rich in antioxidants and immunity-boosting properties. Learn more about some of the science behind propolis in this study. With caution, this product can be used in drinks, compresses, throat gargles, and baths, especially during the cold season. Bee careful not to spill the liquid, as propolis tincture has a very distinct, rich yellow color that easily stains fabric.
Please use caution when using natural bee products, as these products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure of prevent disease.
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A long day was recently spent in the honey lab sampling dozens of pails of Single Source Honey for our curated Ames Farm Brewers & Distillers Varietal Honey Inventory. This collection of honey has been selected from our reserves for the discriminate mead maker, brewer and distiller.
I feel like I have painted myself into a corner of artisanal honey production that no one else has tried to duplicate, because of the slow and tedious process of extracting one super of honey at a time! Read how this unique approach to producing honey evolved and why its special.