Last month we went to check out some gorgeous Scottish raw honey. Golden Age Raw honey has not been pasteurised, and has many benefits that are not present in the regular honey that you will see on the supermarket shelves. Cold extracted and packed at temperatures lower than 40 degrees, it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, and contains all its important nutrients intact.
Raw Honey from the Scottish countryside
It was a beautiful clear sunny November afternoon as we drove down to Dumfries where we met Luisa from Golden Age Honey. She took us to John Mellis Scottish honey apiaries, got us kitted out in beekeeping suits and showed us the hives.
Luisa Gonzales is a woman on a mission to reverse the decline of the honeybee. Luisa is a natural born teacher, and her passion for bees was palpable as she explained the beekeeping process to us in great detail. It’s clear to see that the welfare of her bees is of paramount importance to her.
She has set up a wonderful project: ‘Generation Bee’, to train new young beekeepers in her holistic methods, so as to help the declining population of bees that are fast dying out due to pests, disease, and increased chemical farming methods such as GMOs. This is crucial work, as a large portion of our food production relies on insect pollination. If the bees die out, our fragile ecosystem will never be the same.
Luisa’s hives are sited around the Solway coastline, the hills of Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire and the Borders. Here the bees benefit from a tranquil location away from the buzz (!) of city life. Unfortunately, any honey produced in the UK cannot be labelled organic, as there is nowhere in our country where organic land is sufficiently far enough from sprayed land (and bees being bees, they’ll fly where they like!).
However, Luisa’s bees are located in an area where arable farming is marginal, so the majority of their nectar comes from pesticide-free flora – the trees, meadows and hedgerows of the peaceful Scottish countryside.
Golden Age Honey currently comes in 4 different luscious flavours to coincide with each season:
Premier Cru (Spring)
A unique, delicate honey made from springtime blossoms of chestnut, hawthorn, sycamore, dandelion and wild cherry. Caramel coloured and nutty in flavour. As we know, Scotland cannot be counted on to always provide much of a ‘Spring’, so this honey is a rare treat.
A light, floral honey that is rich with nectar from clover, willowherb, lime trees, wild raspberry and brambles. Available as a smooth creamy set consistency or a runny honey.
Scottish Heather Honey (late Summer)
A rich, smoky flavoured honey harvested from wild Scottish heather.
There has been some very interesting research done lately at the University of Glasgow which showed that the anti-bacterial properties of Scottish heather honey were as good, if not better, than those of Manuka honey. During the study the honey was used as a wound dressing on injured horses, helping to promote healing by cleaning the wound and keeping it free from infection.
Considering the price of Manuka honey, and the distance it has to be flown to get here, it certainly seems a good option to use raw Scottish Heather Honey for its natural anti-bacterial properties.
Fusion (mixture of Heather and Blossom)
This is my personal favourite of all the Golden Age honeys. It has a truly unique flavour that captures the different aspects of both the Heather and Blossom honeys, resulting in a unique, creamy, satisfying taste experience.
I have to say, the taste of Golden Age Honey is far and away superior to any other honey I’ve tried, hands down. Just opening the jar and smelling that rich evocative fragrance makes it obvious that this is REAL honey. It is an experience I’ve never had, even from the organic honeys I’ve eaten in the past. There really is a world of difference between honey that has been flown thousands of miles and honey that is produced from the flora in your local area.
If you’d like to give it a try, contact Luisa at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect via her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GoldenAgeHoney
What can we do to help the bees?
The bees are in crisis, and it’s becoming more important than ever to help save them, whether or not you eat honey. We depend on the bees for such a large portion of our food production – especially if we’re into raw food. Here are some ways that we can be proactive in helping them:
1. Bee organic – support organic farmers by choosing organic produce, and if you garden, avoid using pesticides and insecticides.
2. Do some ‘bee-friendly’ gardening. The bees in our garden love sage, radish and clover, all of which grow extremely easily in Scotland, with hardly any effort (I’m a lazy gardener – I only grow plants that take care of themselves!). It’s such a lovely relaxing feeling to be outside in the garden on a warm sunny day watching the bees busily go from flower to flower – and surprising how close you can get to them – they are so engrossed in their work that they don’t pay you any attention.
3. Support campaigns banning pesticides
5. Buy local honey and support your local beekeepers.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a holistic beekeeper, get in touch with Luisa at email@example.com and ask about her ‘Generation Bee’ project.