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What sets Old Blue Raw Honey apart from other honey companies?
- We only sell honey from our own hives.
- We offer a wide array of interesting, small-batch varietal honeys not readily available elsewhere.
- We give our customers a LOT of information about specific honey varietals as well as about our beekeeping practices more broadly. Each bottle is labeled with the harvest date, apiary location, and primary nectar source(s). Beyond that, varietal honey listings contain extra information about apiary ecology and nectar source plant characteristics. Customers can also learn more by reading through our FAQ, checking out our blog, or following @oldbluerawhoney on Instagram.
- We are actively preserving and improving Northwest-adapted honeybee genetics by raising and breeding our own queens and using isolated mating areas to propagate resilient, feral-based stock suitable for both migratory pollination and honey production in Oregon.
Henry Storch is migratory beekeeper as well as a professional farrier. He is based in Philomath, Oregon where he lives with his wife and two kids. In his free time, he collects seed from native plants and interesting garden varieties, and he plays Legos with his kids.
Camille Storch manages customer service, sales, and shipping for Old Blue Raw Honey, and she photographs and writes all the Old Blue blog posts. She also manages the blog Wayward Spark. In her free time, she does a lot of canning and pickling produce.
About the Bees
Henry's been keeping bees since 2006, and from the beginning, he has focused on building up his hive numbers by catching swarms of feral bees, rehoming bees that have been thriving without chemical treatments in bee trees and barns, and splitting his own hives and raising his own queens to propagate Northwest-adapted honeybee genetics. In general, Henry's bees are darker in color than most commercial colonies, and they overwinter in smaller clusters. His bees exhibit several mite and disease resistant traits, such as varroa sensitive hygienic behavior and grooming. Though it's standard practice to apply frequent chemical treatments including miticides and antibiotics, Henry maintains his colonies with integrated pest management and the use of organic-approved mite treatments. While some hives fail every year, most of his colonies survive and thrive.
Henry is a migratory beekeeper, which means he transports his bees to different apiaries throughout the year. In January, most of his hives are trucked to the Sacramento Valley in California and are rented out to pollinate almond orchards. After they return to Oregon in March, some of his hives are used to pollinate fruit and seed crops in the Willamette Valley and others are placed in remote areas of the Oregon Coast Range, which provide his bees the ideal environment for producing varietal wildflower honeys. By mid-summer, most Old Blue hives end up in apiaries toward the coast where temperatures are more moderate, and they can take advantage of late-season nectar and pollen flows.
About the Honey
Old Blue honey is never heated over natural hive temperatures (under 100°), and it has only been minimally filtered, so it includes pollen, small wax particles, and the occasional bee bit. Most of our honey is produced in diverse Coast Range ecosystems where many plants are blooming at the same time, so the nectar coming into the hive is rarely from a single nectar source plant. In these situations, however, usually one or two species will predominate in the nectar flow and will determine the varietal honey's character. Henry occasionally moves his hives into the Willamette Valley to do crop pollinations such as blueberries, raspberries, and clary sage. The honeys produced from these crops have distinct characters and flavors.
We offer a limited amount of a few varietal honeys that are produced in spring. These honeys aren't commercially available, contain extra pollen, and have unusual flavors. They also are lower-yielding, much more labor intensive, and inconsistent from year to year, but we think they're special enough to justify going to the extra effort to produce them and keep them separate from main-season honeys.
What our customers are saying about Old Blue Raw Honey:
Frank in ME says, "The blackberry honey is insanely delicious!"
Katherine in CA says, "I cannot believe how delicious the honey is. I've NEVER had honey with such flavor!"
Joy in OR says, "I give you 6 stars out of a possible 5 stars for good customer service and great product."
Sue in MN says, "I love honey and have tried many. The raspberry & mint honey is like dining on a little bit of heaven."