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Our "Learn and Grow" Blog

TIPS, NEWS, AND RESEARCH THAT WILL HELP YOU MAKE BETTER CONSUMER CHOICES, LIVE HEALTHIER LIFE AND ALSO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT

September 16, 2023

Can One Kill Honey?


YES!

Honey's chemical structure is being altered with heat. Its most important nutrients are being destroyed when it is heated thus killing honey's medicinal and well-being properties when honey is heated.

We have recently found a fantastic article that explains in detail what exactly happens to honey when it is subjected to certain temperatures.

For example, when you heat honey to just 98.6 ºF (35 ºC), about 200 of its beneficial nutrients dissipate. At temperatures of 104 ºF (40 ºC ) and above, the beneficial invertase enzyme found in honey is lost.

It is eye-opening! If you want to read the entire article,
HERE the link.

So it is important that you only buy honey with a label that says "unheated" or "never heated".

What if the label says "
unpasteurized"?

"Unpasteurized" and "unheated" are NOT the same thing!!

Pasteurization is a defined term, a certain technical process. Honey is usually pasteurized at temperatures between 145 and 158 F!

So if honey is heated to, say, 100 or 120 F, it is "technically" unpasteurized but not UNHEATED and already destroyed.

Therefore buy honey directly from a beekeeper so that you could confirm if the honey was heated at all. And let's hope they give you an honest answer.

Our honey is NEVER HEATED to any degree and that's exactly what our labels say.

Educated consumer rules!

Share this information with friends to help spread the knowledge.

 

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How to Cook With Lavender

August 8, 2023

Have you tried cooking with Lavender? If not, you are missing a lot. Lavender can be added to various dishes to take them to the next level of deliciousness:

1. Baking (cookies, cakes, shortbread, etc.)

2. Creams (ice cream, frosting)

3. Beverages (tea, lemonade, cocktails)

4. Soft cheeses and cheese balls (try lavender in combination with honey)

5. Spice rubs (lavender goes really well with lamb)

The one important thing to know is how to choose the right lavender type for your cooking needs. The only true food grade (culinary) lavender is English Lavender (Lavender Angustifolia).

If you want your dishes to taste good and not like soap, as Bon Appetit magazine recommends, or even worse - bitter, only use English Lavender

What if a jar of lavender you are buying just says "culinary lavender", how can you figure out that you are buying the good stuff? Here are a couple tips:

1. Check the color. English lavender buds are deep blue in color. Lavandula Intermedia (sometimes called Provence Lavender) has grey buds. See the image attached to this article: on the left is English Lavender and on the right is Provence.

2. Taste 1 bud. Provence lavender will taste bitter right of the bat. English lavender will taste floral and earthy with just a little bitterness at the end.

To be 100% sure you are buying the good stuff, check out our culinary lavender. We only sell English lavender as food grade, we don't even grow Provence Lavender so there can be no confusion.

Bon Appetit!

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August 1, 2023

Is There Such A Thing As Bad Honey?

YES, there is! Save this information as a reference for the future.

These are the types of honey that you should avoid at all cost:


HEATED HONEY
Heating kills all the good stuff in honey: microelements, antioxidants, etc. and turns into sugary syrup with no health benefits.

ULTRA FILTRATED HONEY
Ultra filtration makes beautifully looking but absolutely useless honey as it filtrates out microparticles important for your health, such as pollen that helps you with allergies and propolis that is antimicrobial and antifungal.

INFUSED HONEY
Honey infused with plant material is a breading ground for bacteria. Infused material needs to be processed a certain way to minimize bacterial growth and kept in the fridge at all times and consumed within days of production. Infusion kills honey's shelf life and medicinal properties.

TOXIC HONEY
Some plants produce nectar toxic to humans and other mammals. The most notorious is Mountain Laurel. Thank God it does not grow in California but people in the mountain regions of the East Coast should be careful. Hives should not be placed within 2 miles radius of this plant.

HONEY WITH HORRIBLE TASTE
One plant that I know of produces nectar that tastes like cough medicine - Rhododendron. This plant does not grow in Paso Robles area where our hives are located but it does grow in NorCal in cooler areas, in SF Bay Area inclusive. Be very careful when you buy honey from backyard beekeepers in Bay Area. I know at least one beekeeper in Belmont whose honey tastes horrible (yes, we tried), it tastes exactly like Robitussin (I still shiver when I remember that taste...)

We guarantee that our honey is NEVER heated, ultra filtered or infused and it does not have toxic or horribly tasting nectar in it.

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July 11, 2023

Strawberries are SUPERFOOD!

 

It is strawberry season on our farm so let's talk about this amazing red gem.

 

Not only do strawberries provide fiber, potassium, folate, magnesium and antioxidants, but they also contain several bioactive compounds  (flavonoids) that are known to help protect against chronic diseases. 

 

Plus, they have more vitamin C than an orange – about 160 percent of your daily requirement – in a single serving (1 cup) which contains just 50 calories.

 

Strawberries are also low in naturally-occurring sugar. 

 

SO HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE TO YOUR HEALTH?

 

1. Strawberries have been shown to lower risk of heart attack and stroke, thanks to their ability to lower LDL cholesterol, inflammation and blood pressure. One study of middle-aged women reported that those who ate at least 3 servings per week of strawberries (as well as blueberries) reduced their risk of a heart attack by more than 30%

 

2. Strawberries' bioactive flavonoids may help keep your blood sugars in check. Eating strawberries before a sugar-rich meal can dampen the blood sugar response from food – a reaction that is thought to be one of the primary ways that strawberries help reduce one's risk of developing insulin resistance, as well as Type 2 diabetes.

 

3. Antioxidant-rich strawberries may help keep your brain mentally fit as you age. Numerous studies have found that animals that were fed strawberry supplements improved memory and cognition. Other studies show that flavonoids in the fruit may help prevent memory loss.

 

The daily recommended doze of strawberries is 8 berries, but tell me, who has ever stopped at 8?! 

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Don't Buy Burt's Bees Products And Here Is Why

April 26, 2023

If you think that by buying Burt's Bees products you are supporting a small beekeeper named Burt, you are WRONG. You're giving your money to a huge corporation named Clorox  which owns this brand and which, in my opinion, knows nothing about skin care. 

If you think that by buying Burt's Bees products you somehow help saving the bees it's wrong too because Burt's Bees salves and lip balms contain soybean oil that is produced in a way that actually KILLS the bees. 

 

You see soybeans are grown with the use of horrible insecticides that kill all insects including bees and they are also harmful to humans because they are carcinogenic.

Why does Burt's Bees brand uses soybean oil then? Because soybean oil is cheap and they need it for mass produced products to drive down the price. And they just hope that you won't know any better.

If you like Burt's Bees salve and lip balm buy California Lavender Honey Farm's  salve instead that is produced in small batches and with love to bees and our customers! It contains only three ingredients: organic coconut oil, organic cocoa butter and our own bees wax. It's perfect for your dry hands and chapped lips!

Cocoa butter is a much better moisturizing and healing ingredient compared to soybean oil and it is more expensive. We at California Lavender Honey Farm are committed to making a product that is actually good for you and the environment.

Support a small sustainable local business instead of a big reckless corporation that only cares about their bottom line!

 

You can buy our salve on the SHOP page of our website CaliforniaLavenderHoneyFarm.com or DM me at mycaliforniafarm@gmail.com

Educated consumer rules! 

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What to do if you are stung by a bee, a wasp or a hornet

March 16, 2023

It is not a big deal if you get stung by a bee, a wasp or a hornet if you know how to deal with such calamity quickly and properly. There are certain things that you can do right away to neutralize the venom - you can use regular household items that everybody has at home. Even if you are stung while camping I am willing to bet you will have at least one of these items with you.

You may erroneously think that the same remedies will help for all of these insect bites, which is not the case, except for onion. 

ONION is great for both bee and wasp stings. Just cut it open and put a half on the affected area after you remove the stinger.

 

BAKING SODA paste (soda mixed with water) will help neutralize bee venom because this venom is acidic.

 

ACIDIC FOODS such as white and apple cider vinegars as well as lemon juice are great for wasp and hornet stings, because their venoms are alkaline. Soak a cotton pad in these acids and apply to the sting area.If you have a severe allergic reaction seek medical help immediately.

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Don't ever buy soy candles

February 10, 2023

Soy candles are made of soy wax and soy industry producing soy wax is a notorious environment pollutant.

 

When soy is grown it is sprayed with strong insecticides from airplanes. I lived in the Midwest for 10 years, I saw this horror with my own eyes.

 

These insecticides kill all insects not only above the soybean field but wherever the wind will blow them. These insecticides kill innocent honey bees!

 

But not only bees. These insecticides are also considered carcinogenic, therefore they kill people too.

 

If you buy soy candles you support the killing machine of the soy industry. 

 

Furthermore, GM soybeans are a serious threat to honey bees. I am super proud of fellow beekeepers in Mexico who won a fight against Monsanto and its GM soybeans. You can read the full story HERE.

 

I urge you only to buy beeswax candles. Their production doesn't kill any living beings and they are also the healthiest of all candles - burning beeswax purifies the air.

 

You see, burning beeswax produces negative ions that don't cover up odors but actually clean your air of odors, pollens, smoke, dust, dust mites, and other allergens and hazards because these negative ions bind to all these microscopic particles in the air and then they drop to the ground.

 

Please, share this information with friends to help save the bees!

Don't Buy Infused Honey

December 22, 2022

Infused honey: Yes or No? In my view it is a big NO.

 

Honey is a perfect product as nature made it. You can't make it better, only worse.

 

Infused honey is a marketing trick. Someone buys honey in bulk and then infuses it to "add value", which also, naturally, adds to the price compared to the original product. To me it is like infusing a perfect Pinot with rose petals and pretending it adds value. 

 

That's why you typically will not see a reputable honey farmer selling infused honey on their farm, it is usually a reseller or someone who does not understand much about honey or someone who just wants to profit from YOU not knowing much about honey.

 

Also there are potential health risks associated with infused honey. While natural honey that was discovered in Egyptian tombs (that was 4000 years old!) was still good and edible, infused honey can become a breeding ground for bacteria and its shelf life is barely a year.

 

Turning a superpower product into perishable goods and charging extra for it - NO, thank you!

 

Educated consumer rules!

Don't Buy Infused Honey

December 22, 2022

Infused honey: Yes or No? In my view it is a big NO.

 

Honey is a perfect product as nature made it. You can't make it better, only worse.

 

Infused honey is a marketing trick. Someone buys honey in bulk and then infuses it to "add value", which also, naturally, adds to the price compared to the original product. To me it is like infusing a perfect Pinot with rose petals and pretending it adds value. 

 

That's why you typically will not see a reputable honey farmer selling infused honey on their farm, it is usually a reseller or someone who does not understand much about honey or someone who just wants to profit from YOU not knowing much about honey.

 

Also there are potential health risks associated with infused honey. While natural honey that was discovered in Egyptian tombs (that was 4000 years old!) was still good and edible, infused honey can become a breeding ground for bacteria and its shelf life is barely a year.

 

Turning a superpower product into perishable goods and charging extra for it - NO, thank you!

 

Educated consumer rules!

Why Beeswax Candles are the Healthiest and Best Overall?

December 10, 2022

Did you know that beeswax candles are the healthiest candles out of all candles on the market? They are actually air purifying! They are the only ones that you can use if you have certain health conditions and pets at home. Learn more below.

 

Beeswax candles are 100% Pure and Natural

Beeswax candles do not require chemical processing. Beeswax is one of the densest waxes and has a high melting point. So beeswax doesn’t need any hardeners, additives, or chemical treatments to make. Soy wax on the other hand will spoil if not treated with certain chemicals so soy candles are not chemicals free.

 

Beeswax candles are Air Purifying & Creativity Boosting

Unlike many other candles, burning beeswax actually purifies the air. Beeswax candles emit negative ions which bind with particulate matter in the air, causing the floating particles in the air to drop to the ground. So beeswax candles are perfect for people with sinuses issues, allergies, asthma or anybody who cares about the air they breeze in.

 

Some say negative ions also stimulate the pituitary gland, thus increasing creativity & intuition.

 

Beeswax candled are best for people with certain Health Conditions

As mentioned above beeswax candles are best for people with allergies or respiratory problems. But they are also the smartest choice for people who have health conditions with sensitivity to scents such as migraines, pregnancy, etc. I personally know people who actually develop severe headaches from scented candles. 

 

Beeswax candles are the safest choice of candle as a gift to people whose health history you don’t know too well like teachers, co-workers or your spouse’s distant relatives.

 

Beeswax candles are the Healthiest for Pets

Beeswax candles get their natural scent from the nectar and honey that was originally stored in the honeycomb. Candles that use added scents in them often cause irritation in cats and dogs so scented candles are not recommended in homes with pets.

 

Beeswax candles have Brighter, Longer Burn

Beeswax candles emit light that is similar to the light spectrum of sunlight. This is thanks to beeswax’s high melting point of about 149° Fahrenheit, a higher melting point than other waxes, so it emits the brightest, most warm-toned flame. Beeswax candles also last longer than most other candles. Because beeswax is so dense, it burns slower and drips less, so beeswax candles are considered to be drip free.

 

Beeswax candles make great gifts for the holidays and we have a huge selection. Check them out in our Bee Museum during the farm tour or reach out to me at mycaliforniafarm@gmail.com, I can ship in the U.S.

What you need to know about colloidal oatmeal and Vitamin E

November 20, 2022

 

Colloidal oatmeal is a great natural product for your skin, especially if it is sensitive and prone to irritation. It does not cure your skin condition but what it does is it clings to your skin forming a soothing protective layer and gives it a chance to heal. You can learn about this fabulous ingredient HERE.

 

That's why we use colloidal oatmeal in our new Vanilla Oatmeal Soap for sensitive and eczema prone skin. In addition to this ingredient we use shea butter soap base, which is known for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties and Vitamin E.

 

Did you know that Vitamin E is found in our own sebum (skin oil)? It stops skin from losing moisture, softens it and protects skin cells from damage. You can learn more about Vitamin E HERE.

 

Too bad we constantly wash our hands and destroy our skin's natural protective layer... To address this issue we packed our soap with all these perfect moisturizing and protective ingredients. We did not add any coloring, just a couple drops of organic vanilla essential oil for aroma therapy effect.

So our Vanilla Oatmeal Soap looks and smells like a Christmas cookie and wraps your skin in a big protective hug - isn't it a perfect holiday gift? You can buy it on our farm during a tour of e-mail me (mycaliforniafarm@gmail.com) and I can ship it to you in the U.S. (Price: $8)

Happy holidays!

Why you should not buy honey from a regular grocery store

October 10, 2022

 

Here is a proof why you should buy honey only from the actual honey maker (honey farm, apiary) not in the store: we recently received an apology e-mail from Costco basically saying they were using false advertising claiming they were selling "local" honey when, in fact, it was not local at all (God knows where it came from!)

 

At least Costco was honest in the end and apologized but how many stores would not tell you the truth? Can you trust them?

 

And just to clarify how we ended up with Costco honey: no, we don't buy store honey to eat it, we bought it as an experiment. You see, unprocessed, unheated honey should crystalize within 6-8 months (processed, heated honey has all the good stuff killed in it but it looks clear and stays liquid) We wanted to see what will happen to a store bought honey in the long run. It did not crystalize in 2 years... That is another reason to avoid store bought honey. 

 

Make your choices wisely!

 

P.S. You can see an easy to read version of the Costco email HERE.

New Insights into the Biological and Pharmaceutical Properties of Royal Jelly

September 24, 2022

 

How much do you know about Royal Jelly? It is one of the lesser known bee products and yet it is one of the most magnificent. The French started using Royal Jelly in beauty products in 1960s but the U.S. has only recently started to catch up.

 

There is still not enough research done on Royal Jelly but what has been discovered so far is summarized in THIS ARTICLE published by the National Institute of Health. In my view it would have been easier to list where Royal Jelly does NOT help - the list would have been much shorter. :-)

 

Learn more about this amazing substance which is great for your health and beauty.

Health Benefits of Honey

August 10, 2022

Did you know about beneficial role of honey polyphenols against some human degenerative diseases? I just found a reference to this amazing ARTICLE on PubMed, a database of research papers curated by US' National Institute of Health.

 

Of course we all knew that honey is great when you have a cold or a sore throat. But it turns out honey polyphenols go beyond that and may have effect on cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

 

You have to have special access to the database to be able to read the full article (and lucky you - our family has!) so we reviewed it for you.

 

BOTTOM LINE: not all honeys are created equal, only certain flower honeys actually have these amazing health effects, such as eucalyptus, rosemary, rapeseed, lavender and orange. Plus some very unique Australian and Tunisian honeys that you cannot buy in the U.S. Manuka honey is not on the list, so forget all the hype!

 

GREAT NEWS FOR YOU: our farm's spring wildflower honey is actually dominated by eucalyptus and rosemary so we are able to provide you the unique honey concoction with proven superpowers! 

 

Spring honey is typically available starting June until supply lasts. I suggest you follow our Instagram  page to be notified first of all our farm updates including honey release dates.

Smart Bees

April 10, 2022

Did you know that bees understand mathematical concepts? May be not the way we do, but still, researchers think that bees are very, very smart. Learn more about this fascinating bee research HERE.

March 1, 2022

Have you heard about Yellow Star Thistle honey? Probably not, as it is very rare and super hard to find.

 

It is rare because yellow star thistle is an invasive species and typically people just get rid of it if they find it on their property.

 

Another caveat is that this flower only producers nectar when the temperatures reach 90F +. Our Paso Robles climate is perfect for yellow starthistle because it is 90F+  here for most of June - September. And we have the whole big field of this flower on our property!

 

Yellow Star Thistle honey is also very hard to get because it sells out very quickly: it is one of the most delicious honeys there is and therefore the Food and Wine Magazine calls it "The Champagne of Honeys". It is not overly sweet and heavy as other honeys, it is light & bright and full of delicate aromas. It is literally sparkling on your tongue!

 

We harvest this honey at the beginning of September. Follow us on Instagram to receive timely notifications of when it is available for sale!

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