Learn how this Manitoba farm is in the field raising the bar for buckwheat honey harvesting.
At BUCK, we’re all about celebrating goodness in all its forms. We love hearing about businesses and individuals who are making a meaningful impact in their communities and beyond. Podolski Honey Farms does just that – and what better time to honour them than on World Bee Day? This Canadian, family-owned business is making a difference around the world with their wholesome, quality buckwheat honey and other honey products. We spoke with the owner, Bobby Podolski, who shed light on the farm’s roots and the direction it’s since taken off in.
A Humble Beginning
Podolski Honey Farms was founded in 1954 by Ed and Roxanne Podolski in Ethelbert, Manitoba. What started as a nine-hive operation quickly evolved into 500, and before Ed and Roxanne knew it, they had created a loyal following of honey-lovers from around the world. The two made it their mission to share this liquid gold with the rest of the world, while ensuring quality was never compromised along the way. Though the farm is now in its third generation, Ed and Roxanne’s legacy lives on in the family’s unwavering passion and dedication to the craft of beekeeping.
Cleaner than the Rest
While a large part of business at Podolski Honey Farms is generated through sales of consumer-ready packaged products (raw naturally crystalized honey, creamed honey, liquid honey, and buckwheat honey), the U.S. Military is one of the farms’ largest contracts. Buckwheat honey’s high antioxidant content ranks it as one of the cleanest honeys on the market, making it an excellent agent for wound care. By using a small amount of buckwheat honey into a bandage and applying it to the wounded area, the honey quickly draws out moisture and eliminates harmful bacteria. Buckwheat’s antioxidant potency makes it a useful ingredient to boost immune health; its syrupy consistency coats the throat and combats symptoms of the cold/flu, acting as an effective natural alternative to cough medicine when taken by the spoonful, or mixed with hot water/tea.
Skip the Additives
Podolski Honey Farms is committed to maintaining the integrity of their honey by creating a product that is pure, and free of additives. Many of the products found on store shelves only contain about 5% natural honey, while the other 95% is comprised of additives and neonicotinoids. Neo-what? Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides used widely on farms and in urban landscapes, which are absorbed by plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees. This additive is commonly used by larger companies to scale production and maximize profits.
Because of the purity in Podolski Honey Farms’ buckwheat honey products, a large quantity is shipped to Japan, a country with strict import regulations. Using NMR (nuclear magnetic resistance) systems, the country tests the honey’s purity to ensure that it is 95% natural or greater in order to be accepted. Products that test positive for neonicotinoids and other additives are denied.
Can you spot the buckwheat honey vial? (Tip: Look for the darkest one.)
What’s All the Buzz About?
A little-known fact about buckwheat is that it requires little to no chemicals, like herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, in order to grow. Buckwheat plants naturally suppress weeds through competition (crowding out perennials) and shading (its leaves form a canopy that weakens and prevents problem weeds), eliminating the need for chemical outputs. When buckwheat blossoms, its delicate white flowers attract the beneficial buzzing pals that act as pest control, attacking these unwanted insects and preventing them from causing damage to the crop. Buckwheat is a bee-friendly crop, as both the nectar and the pollen are readily accessible for honeybees, bumble bees, and native bees to help them produce a dark, distinguished buckwheat honey.
Full on Flavour
Buckwheat honey is rich and intense – its sweetness is complemented by a nutty, lingering aftertaste that make it a delicious, flavourful addition to drizzle over a nutty slice of gruyère, sour green apple slices, or freshly made pancakes. It’s also a wonderful natural sweetener to add to your morning smoothie to pack in minerals and antioxidants.
Worth Every Penny
When compared with generic honey products, Podolski Honey Farms buckwheat honey is priced slightly higher, due to the high production costs and the company’s ethical commitment to provide workers with fair, livable wages.
Additionally, it is becoming more and more expensive for farmers to raise and harvest bees as there are many larger companies (many in other countries) to compete with. Much of the honey that is sold in Canadian supermarkets is in fact from China, India, and Africa, however the products can be labelled as Canadian, so long as the product is packaged in Canada – even if it is sourced and processed elsewhere. Larger companies can afford to raise bees in countries with looser regulations surrounding the use of chemicals, dangerous practices, and cheaper labour regulations. This keeps the profit margin high, while maintaining a lower price-point ($5 versus $25).
Podolski Honey Farms and BUCK are working to educate consumers on the importance of reading labels closely to identify where their foods are coming from. By doing their research, families can ensure that they’re supporting local farmers who are working with integrity to bring quality ingredients to the table. While the cost of purchasing pure buckwheat honey may be higher, the health benefits, and medicinal benefits, are endless.
Here’s a quick review of why you should stock your cupboards with Canadian buckwheat honey:
It’s an anti-inflammatory and an anti-bacterial (great for healing wounds, fighting acne, and preventing scars)
This superfood is full of antioxidants, and a source of vitamins and minerals (including vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, K, beta-carotene, minerals, enzymes, essential oils, and flavonoids)
It’s a natural cold/flu remedy that coats the throat to ease coughing/respiratory infections
Buying a domestically produced, pure buckwheat honey supports our local farmers and stimulates the economy
It’s a natural sweetener that can be used to replace refined sugars that are damaging to our health
It’s pure and chemical-free (say goodbye to harmful additives)