Our history and philosophy
are a family owned beekeeping operation located in the DeBolt area of
the Peace River Region,
forty miles from Grande Prairie. Ballard honey products was founded in 1980 by James (Bob) Ballard, who began producing honey with 5 hives in his back yard. Since that time, the operation has grown to more than 2000.
In 1990, in an effort to diversify James (Bob) founded a spin off beeswax candle company named "The Bees Knees", which also ran from the farm and employed 12 full time employees, and several part-time. Through their dedication and hard work the Bees Knees grew to include a global customer base. However, the success of the Bees Knees had distracted James from his true passion of beekeeping. To refocus operations on beekeeping the Bees Knees candle company was sold and its operations moved off site. Unfortunately, the Bees Knees suffered under new ownership and closed its doors soon after.
Our experience with the Bees Knees has yielded several lessons. The outsourcing of distribution, while expanding our customer base, had compromised our ability to keep retail prices reasonable for our end customers. Too many middle men meant that prices for our end customers were inflated beyond what we felt was reasonable. While we produced, packaged and shipped our product from meadow to mail, our customers ended up paying prices we felt were unfair.
On the flip side of the coin, while our end customers were paying exhorbitant prices for our products, only a minuscule portion of the profits trickled back to us, the producers of those products. Since then we have made it our mission to provide quality products, at fair prices, direct to consumer. However, we also would like to maintain a core operation in bees, rather than distribution. Therefore we keep our prices, while fair to us, low enough to provide opportunities in redistribution for our club members.
We continue in our tradition of uncompromising quality control. All
candles are 100% beeswax and contain no colour or paraffin
additives. All of
our honey is our own and is not mixed with honey from any other
producers. Our current goal is to bring
the high quality honey that
is produced in our region directly to the consumer at a fair price. However, we also keep our prices low enough to allow for fundraising activities for good causes, and take it upon ourselves to enable their success. For further explanation of our efforts to support community or charitable fundraising initiatives, see our products page.
A pledge to our customers:
Honey of the highest quality.
The honey you purchase from us is gathered only within the Peace River Region of Northern Alberta. This area is famous for producing a distinct and unmatched flavor and quality of honey that can be found only here. We have been producing honey for 25 years in the area of DeBolt, Alberta and our commitment to preserving and sharing the unique qualities of honey produced in this region have earned us many loyal customers.
All of our products are produced on site and are not blended with honey from any other producer. Our goal is to bring the unique taste of the region directly to the consumer. To do this we offer an authentic alternative to the "Canada #1 white" blended varieties that occupy most supermarket shelves.
Our speacialty is a sweet, but mild white creamed honey that can only be produced here. Like with fine wines, each region produces its own unique flavor. The Peace River region, however, is unique in its quality. As beekeepers we would like to take credit for this, but the real reasons are due to our northern climate and forage available to our bees. The combination of long summer days and millions of clover blossoms sprouting from naturally rich soils make for a delicately flavoured "white" honey. Our customers find it preferable over the darker and stronger flavoured honey produced in most areas of the world.
All of our products are 100% pure and contain no colour or additives. It is for this reason we recommend our white creamed honey.
Bees and Bee Products
is produced when the foraging colony of bees find a
source of nectar. Nectar is contained within the blossoms
of a flowering plant. If the plants are located within
a 2 mile radius of the hive the bees will be able to
utilize it. Beekeepers refer to this as a "nectar
bee in it's lifetime will gather less than an ounce of
nectar, and will make hundreds of foraging trips outside
the hive to do so.
The nectar is then deposited in the honeycomb for storage until needed as a food
HONEY FROM NECTAR
Nectar is not quite honey. During the forage bees will secrete an enzyme to the
nectar. Once stored in the comb the moisture content of the nectar is lowered
by a process called "fanning".Fanning is accomplished when bees cause air to
circulate over the honeycomb by using their wings as fans. When the moisture
content of the nectar is low enough, a beeswax capping is put over the honeycomb
to complete the process.
Beeswax is created by a gland in the honeybee that is activated when bees gorge
themselves on honey and cluster quietly for a day or two in a corner of the
hive. This enables the gland to secrete beeswax which the bees use to build
honeycomb and cap stored honey. These tiny secreted particles will always
remain intact but may peel, this wil look like dust on your candle. This
is called a "bloom". To remove, just gently polish your beeswax
with a soft
cloth. This bloom is not a mould.
Honey will store indefinitely if harvested below a moisture content of 18%.
FACT: Greek ruins have produced urns of honey over two thousand
years old that had not spoiled. Bacteria cannot reproduce in honey. There are
few, if any, environments more sterile than the interior of a beehive. It is
for this reason that honey was used to treat wounds in antiquity and is still
being used for medicinal purposes in many parts of the world today.
Gently heat creamed honey to liquify it. GENTLY!. Honey will dissolve much
more quickly than butter or margerine in the microwave. 10-15 seconds is usually
sufficient. Hot water surrounding the container offers a gentler approach with
little chance of overheating.
Each time that honey is heated, delicate flavours and enzymes are destroyed
and the quality is compromised. Ballard Honey is unpasterized in order to
preserve it's natural "raw" flavour.
ON THE LABEL
Much of the Canadian honey on store shelves is mixed with poor quality foriegn
honey and subsequently labelled "Canada #1 White".
It can usually be recognized by it's dark colour and and less than subtle flavour.
Our honey is produced solely on our apiary in northern Alberta and is truly "CANADA