ABOUT US

Our history and philosophy

   We 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 of our 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:

100% Pure Canada #1 White Honey from Ballard Honey Products

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

Honey 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 flow".

FACT:Each 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 supply.


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
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.

SPOILAGE
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.

TO LIQUIFY
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.

WHATS 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 #1 WHITE".