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Author Topic: Available market  (Read 4944 times)
csalt
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« on: April 14, 2010, 06:40:28 PM »

How hard is it to sell honey, provided you do the leg work to market your honey is the demand for it out there? I recently read in bee culture that the US imports over half the honey consumed. Is this because imported honey is cheaper or because the US consumes more than it can produce? Is the declining of beekeepers because of the market or because of all the problems with ccd/varroa ext. or is it because the newer generations just not interested. Just currious, I don't want to get my hopes of being a commercial beekeeper up only to find out no matter how hard I work it wont happen. I would love to pass this lifestyle on to my children.
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manfre
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 08:19:10 PM »

Most people buy honey from a supermarket. Those who like honey with more flavor will buy it from local sources. Farmer's market, craigslist, etc.
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 10:25:52 PM »

I have found that a lot of the younger people just don't eat honey.  They did not really know what to do with it.  When I show it to them, they are amazed at it, and a few are afraid of it because it was in a mason jar, not from the magic store factory.   Has anyone else found this to be true, or is it just me.


BTW, my 3 year old son ate honey on his boiled egg sandwich for dinner yesterday.  Talk about bad parents.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 10:31:42 PM »

I'd be interested to know the market dynamics as well; but I'm guessing that your instincts are in the ballpark. Look at the amount of commercially produced products containing honey.
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Bradley_Bee
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2010, 12:34:50 AM »

I have never had a problem selling honey. In bulk to packing houses , at farmers markets , or hand to hand -  There has always been a demand.
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lenape13
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2010, 08:59:28 AM »

I have people lined up waiting to buy honey from me.  Now, if I could just get to girls to produce enough, perhaps I could retire early...  rolleyes
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manfre
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 09:07:06 AM »

Assuming that you have a job other than beekeeping, let your coworkers know that you have beehives and plan on selling honey. As soon as my friends and coworkers found out that I have a few beehives, they've been lining up to buy honey. Now I just need the girls to produce the first batch.
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csalt
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010, 01:47:12 PM »

Sounds encouraging, I guess if I slowly keep adding hives whenever I can afford them there's not to much risk being as I won't have to take out a loan. I have a buddy that ownes a 40 acre orange grove that I can put some hives in. There's some other groves nearby his so I was thinking maybe putting between 10 - 20 hives on each end of his grove any suggestions?
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hardwood
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2010, 02:26:01 PM »

Sounds like you could have some great bee yards csalt! Of course citrus just finished so I'd make sure there's plenty of other forage in the area before you move the bees in. Gallberry starts next week which makes a fine honey....any of that around?

Scott
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2010, 02:53:58 PM »

Sounds like you could have some great bee yards csalt! Of course citrus just finished so I'd make sure there's plenty of other forage in the area before you move the bees in. Gallberry starts next week which makes a fine honey....any of that around?

Scott
we get mayberries, possibly gallberries, and blueberries (the blueberries have already run for the most part)
I haven't identified the gallberry though, scale seems to be a rare trait in nature pictures.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2010, 03:27:05 PM »

Keeping the bees and getting the honey is the easy part (and fun!) grin.  The hard part is the marketing.  If you can find a niche and sell tiny corked miracle bottles of magic organic wound-healing enzyme-packed liquid gold harvested from tiny angels with stings, you'll do great!

Ok, that is a bit thick, but IMHO the most important part really is marketing. Developing niches and the types of customers who are loyal.  I'm not a marketing guy at all, and I can't do that, so I'm not going to be a full time beekeeper.  I think that big operations can produce mass quantities to make it worthwhile at lower prices, but I think the smaller honey producers need a niche to thrive.  To be both a successful physical laborer and a marketing guru is tricky and I think a rare trait.

There's also queens, nucs, pollination, honey/wax products, etc.

As to your overall question...I think that the nation as a whole is moving away from an agrarian society as we have for a long time.  Economies of scale eliminate farmers and ranchers, and I don't think that honeybees scale as well which would explain why the #beeks and the # hives are both decreasing.  There is so much uncertainty to farming so it is simpler to just have a 8-5 job (or was before last year!!).

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csalt
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2010, 09:18:41 PM »

Not shure about gallberry I'll have to check into it. Right now I just have a couple of hives in my backyard, lots of woods and palmetto although I heard palmetto honey is only good for cooking. Yeah the marketing is going to be my weak point. I think I'm going to keep my day job and try to slowly build my apiary, if one day I can average 2000 a month I will quit my job and live a simple life.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 01:18:24 AM »

I think the palmettos make a strong baking honey.
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rast
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2010, 06:58:16 AM »

 Palmetto makes a fine light honey, it's the cabbage palm (Sabal) tree that buyers label baking honey. Development has wiped out most of the palmetto around me. Certain ethnic groups prefer the dark over the light and I have no problem selling it.
 Csalt, look down around Chass. for palmetto.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2010, 12:25:50 PM »

thanks rast, I'm in the oaks, with neither palm around.
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doak
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2010, 06:29:34 PM »

Took me only a few years to establish customers that come to my house. If need be I can deliver. :)doak
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2010, 09:22:30 PM »

Keeping the bees and getting the honey is the easy part (and fun!) grin.  The hard part is the marketing.  If you can find a niche and sell tiny corked miracle bottles of magic organic wound-healing enzyme-packed liquid gold harvested from tiny angels with stings, you'll do great!

Ok, that is a bit thick, but IMHO the most important part really is marketing. Developing niches and the types of customers who are loyal.  I'm not a marketing guy at all, and I can't do that, so I'm not going to be a full time beekeeper.  I think that big operations can produce mass quantities to make it worthwhile at lower prices, but I think the smaller honey producers need a niche to thrive.  To be both a successful physical laborer and a marketing guru is tricky and I think a rare trait.

There's also queens, nucs, pollination, honey/wax products, etc.

As to your overall question...I think that the nation as a whole is moving away from an agrarian society as we have for a long time.  Economies of scale eliminate farmers and ranchers, and I don't think that honeybees scale as well which would explain why the #beeks and the # hives are both decreasing.  There is so much uncertainty to farming so it is simpler to just have a 8-5 job (or was before last year!!).



I think you are exactly correct.  Lots of people - including me - believe that eating local honey is good prevention for pollen allergies.  It's part of the reason I got bees to begin with - the local supply is unreliable. 

Now I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to package seasonal honey for the same niche - spring, summer, fall - different flowers, different pollens.  At almost any price it's cheaper than allergy treatments. 

Also, the local neohippie health food store said they would buy all I can sell.  Price wasn't discussed though.  grin
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Monie
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2010, 03:22:10 PM »

I have found that a lot of the younger people just don't eat honey.  They did not really know what to do with it. 

Of comb honey, I've actually had a couple of 20 somethings ask, "What do you do with it?"  jaw drop This newer generation has no clue!
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2010, 06:21:57 PM »

I have found that a lot of the younger people just don't eat honey.  They did not really know what to do with it. 

Of comb honey, I've actually had a couple of 20 somethings ask, "What do you do with it?"  jaw drop This newer generation has no clue!

Wow, my sons would think those kids had been living under a rock. (they had all moved out by the time I got some bees).
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greenbtree
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2010, 02:58:38 PM »

A lady I know who took over the bee yard that I got my hives from is selling hand over fist at the farmer's market.  The magic ingredient seems to be those silly bear bottles.  She says as long as it is a bear bottle people buy it like crazy.  I suspect it is because the bear bottle catches a lot of impulse buyers, and also maybe because people have seen them in the stores so it makes your product more familiar to them.

JC
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