Johnson Honey Farm with Bill & Louise Johnson

What’s new in the world of honey?
In the last four months the price of wholesale honey has gone up by 30%. Supply is down and bee populations continue to decline, so we’re seeing a spike in price. We currently have 250 hives but we’re increasing to 400 to help meet the demand.

What’s the advantage to buying honey directly from a beekeeper like yourself?
A lot of the honey you buy in the supermarket has been processed, heated and filtered so that it has a longer shelf-life. Some honey labeled “pure” could even have fillers like corn or rice syrup but the labels might not reflect that. If you buy your honey from beekeepers you can ask them directly how they harvest and process their product.

What’s your best-selling product?
The wildflower honey is most popular. When we extract the honey from the hive we shine a light through it to see the color, and if it’s brown we know it’s from wildflowers, and the green-colored honey is basswood. We also sell honeycomb, our own soap made from beeswax and honey, honey-glazed snack mix, and 19 different flavors of creamed honey. Stop by our stand for free samples!

How do you promote bees, the honey industry, and the importance of pollinators?
We’re always willing to give people tours of our beehives, so just give us a call. We also do free presentations for schools and organizations about beekeeping. We have a mobile hive that we can bring out in the summer so kids can see right inside. We also teach one beekeeping class each year at NICC. We’re pretty active in the Iowa Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeepers Association.

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