Our Story

We pack Nature's Gold into jars!

OUR BEES   –  OUR HONEY  –  OUR COMPANY

OUR BEES

Our bees are the most important part of our business. Therefore we treat them with the respect they deserve.

Beekeeping is a form of animal husbandry, and just like any other form of farming, there are many ways to go about it: One can take an industrial approach that maximises production, but this often sacrifices animal well-being and impacts the quality of the resulting food product negatively – not to mention the environmental side effects!

On the other hand, one can place quality at the forefront, and this naturally leads to methods that respect the animals and the environment. We focus on quality, not volume.

When working with the bees, we treat them as kindly as possible. The bees respond the way they are treated :-) We take care not to crush them when checking comb frames during regular inspections, as much as possible. We do not blow the bees out of the hive boxes with gas-powered leaf blowers to harvest the honey and we do not hover them to remove them from places where we do not want them, as is often done in large scale operations. That is akin to keeping other farm animals in a CAFO, and it is not OK.

We aim to use natural materials in our production. Our bees live in hives that are built from wood, that we mostly manufacture ourselves. The European honeybee apis mellifera naturally lives in hollow tree trunks. Wooden hives are the nearest thing to a hollow tree, that is also manageable for a beekeeper at the same time.

A wooden enclosure is not only the bees natural choice, it is also a breathable material, unlike the light-weight styrofoam hive commonly used nowadays. Long discussions can be had about the pros and cons of different hive materials, but wood is the natural choice for us.

OUR HONEY

We make sure our honey lives up to its name! Luonnon Kulta means Nature’s Gold.

Our honey is a premium product: pure, unadulterated, just the way the bees made it. We do not heat our honey in the process of extracting and packaging it. Therefore, the honey we sell naturally crystallises. All wildflower honey that has not been heat treated crystallises. All we can do is influence how it crystallises, creating fine crystalline structure on purpose, rather than random, and often coarse crystals that are unpleasant on the tongue.

Artisanal, local honey has natural variation that gives it characteristic colour and flavour, a bit like terroir in wine. Also like vintages of good wine, the flavour varies from season to season. Industrially produced honey, on the other hand, is blended from honey that comes from all over the place, which averages out differences and results in a more average consistency and taste. Industrial honey is also heated in the process of mixing and packaging it. While many industrial packers claim they do not “heat” their honey, their industrial process requires them to “warm” it to uncomfortably high temperatures, that do not do the honey any good. When heating the honey to slightly below pasturization temperatures is called warming, it’s really down to semantics.

Our honey, on the other hand, is is literally not heated beyond the temperature that is inside the beehives. Our process is very simple: We take the honey comb from the hives. Then we spin the combs to extract the honey and we let it clarify for a day or two and then we sieve it, to remove impurities, like small pieces of wax etc. Then we induce the cristallization process by adding some honey that has the crystalline structure that we want to achieve and then we mix it at low speed for a short duration. After a few days of mixing twice a day for a few minutes, the honey is ready to be packed into jars. That’s it! Raw honey. No heating in the process. That way we ensure that all the natural goodness is preserved in our honey. Heating up honey, also to temperatures below pasturization levels, harms or kills the natural enzymes found in honey, thereby reducing its quality.

While some honey stays naturally liquid, such as acacia honey or horsma honey, all mixed honey cristallizes without heat treatment. In Finland, basically all mixed flower honey or wildflower honey crystallizes. Depending on the nectar sources and on the prevailing weather during the summer, the honey can crystallize to become solid or soft, but it does not naturally stay liquid. Depending on the nectar sources, the composition of sugars in the honey varies. Honey consists of over twenty varieties of natural sugars, mainly grape sugar (glucose) and fruit sugar (fructose), and notably not saccharose, the white table sugar. Depending on the ratio of fructose to glucose, honey can create a marbling effect on the surface. This effect is really a mark of quality honey, because honey that has been warmed or heated will not produce marbling. Marbling on honey has long been considered a cosmetic defect and many producers try to hide it by packing the honey into non-transparent packaging. Rather than hiding a mark of quality, we are happy to show it off by packing our honey onto beautiful glass jars. Why hide a mark of quality? It’s a feature, not a bug! Nobody would hide the salt deposits on a well cured Parma or Iberico ham, so why hide the marbling deposits on raw untreated honey?

We are proud of the high quality of honey we produce, and we do not have anything to hide from our customers: not the wooden beehives nor the way we handle the bees, nor our process of production, nor our final product. It’s as good as it can be! Nature makes its own gold in the form of honey. One bee produces only half a teaspoon of honey during its whole life. We owe it to them not mess it up ;-)

OUR COMPANY

I came into beekeeping because I wanted more pollinators for our garden and fruit trees. Honey was initially only a byproduct. After a very short while it became clear that I really enjoy working with bees. The first honey harvest showed that this endeavour also creates a valuable product to sell.

At the time I started keeping bees I found myself at a transition point in life. After working in research as an environmental scientist for years, I was looking for a new way forward. I got some professional training as a beekeeper, and Luonnon Kulta is the exciting new endeavour I have embarked on. This business merges my love for the environment with my love for the best quality, pure, delicious food.

Not only do I get to work outside when the weather is good, I also get to enjoy the reactions and feedback of people when they taste our honey.

Luonnon Kulta is a small scale artisanal operation. While we intend to grow our honey production during the next few years, we will keep it small scale and local. We intend to keep the number of hives small enough so that we can keep working respectfully with the bees, and do not need to make compromises of scale that would ultimately negatively affect the quality of our product, or be incompatible with our ethics. We create a premium product that is as good as it can be. We guarantee to keep it that way.

At Luonnon Kulta, our uncompromising focus on quality starts at the way we treat our bees, on to how we handle the honey they produce, all the way to the packaging and customer service. Luonnon Kulta means “Nature’s Gold” in Finnish, and that is exactly what we pack into our jars!

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