GloryBee: Inside The Hive With An Organic Beekeeper

Not all honey tastes the same! GloryBee is a family owned business, operating from Eugene, Oregon.  They produce a range of organic honey products and sweeteners.  They are also taking steps to help bees, and poor coffee farmers overseas.  Find out more from the following interview with Alan Turanski of GloryBee.

First, tell us about your family business, GloryBee.

My parents started GloryBee in 1975 to provide natural, healthy ingredients for the people of our small Oregon town. It began as a simple family honey stand and today we’ve grown to include the highest quality organic hive products, natural cooking and baking ingredients, natural sweeteners, beekeeping supplies and natural bath and body craft supplies.

What prompted you to get into this business?

It was always my dream to work in the family business, and as I got older, I realized GloryBee could create positive change through our business partnerships and community engagement. I firmly believe that business can be a force for good and GloryBee allows me to work with like-minded teammates to impact the world with social and ethical integrity.

So...about the bees and beekeeping.......How do you find a place for the bees to forage?

As our family business expanded, we formed partnerships with beekeepers throughout the Pacific Northwest. This opened up new opportunities for us to offer some really unique honeys.

If a beekeeper is looking to have a particular single variety honey, such as clover or fireweed, they place their hives near those floral sources and when those flowers are no longer in bloom, they remove the stores of honey so no other floral types are mixed in. This ensures the honey they have is from predominantly one source.

However, you have to keep in mind, bees can fly up to 6 miles away from their hive to find nectar. If there is no nectar source nearby, they are resourceful and dedicated and will find a way to find nectar.

You’ve heard the expression “busy bee”? It’s an expression for a reason. Honey Bees are go-getters. Most people don’t know this: bees fly about 15 miles an hour and they flap their wings 190 times a second. That’s what makes that “buzzing” sound. Bees are amazing!

How do you care for your bees?

Although we source the honey we sell to consumers from other beekeepers, we’re still actively involved in the beekeeping community. I’m a second-generation Beekeeper. My father, Dick Turanski, is the founder of GloryBee and has been raising bees since before I was born.

I grew up around bees, and beekeeping is one of my greatest pleasuresbut honey bees have been facing unprecedented die-offs in recent years. Parasites, pesticides and industrial agriculture are believed to be part of the problem, but more research is needed to understand the threats facing the bees.

I make sure my bees have nectar and water sources nearby and I treat for mites twice a year. Honey bees need all the help they can get and it gives me great joy to care for them. I get to help them stay healthy, and they pollinate fruits, nuts and vegetables, in addition to giving me some great-tasting honey. It’s a win-win.

How do the different types of blossoms affect the taste of the honey?

Most people think honey is honey and it all tastes the same. They couldn’t be more wrong. Honey is like an aged, fine wine, with many complex flavors and undertones. In a nutshell, the taste of a particular honey is dependent on the type of flower the bees use as their nectar source. The nectar for each type of flower has its own sugar levelno two are quite the same. Bees mix collected nectar with enzymes in their mouth and it breaks down into simpler forms. They store this mixture and let it dehydrate to a moisture level of 15.6 – 18.6%.

Single variety honeys, meaning honey made with the majority of its nectar collected from a single type of blossom, such as orange blossom honey or Blackberry Blossom Honey, have extremely distinct tastes.

Gourmet Mangrove Honey from GloryBee - hand crafted and from a small batch beekeeper from Florida.


Most honeys come from multiple floral sources and depending on which flowers the nectar comes from, and the ratio of each type in the mixture, you will find the tastes vary from mildly sweet to richly full-bodied.

But there’s more to honey than just taste. Honeys vary in color, smell and texture. We recommend pure, unfiltered predominantly floral origin raw honey to truly appreciate the uniqueness each variety of honey has to offer.

What is special about your raw honey?

GloryBee Raw Honeys are pure, unfiltered and minimally processed-meaning we only warm up our honeys just enough to gently pour them into our honey jars. Most of our Raw honey’s are predominate floral origin naturally contains protein-packed bee pollen and enzymes. In short, raw honey is honey in its most natural state- with all its sweetness and health-benefits. If you’re looking for the “true” honey experience, GloryBee Raw Honeys are the best.

What challenges have you faced as your business has grown?

GloryBee has been blessed with continued success and growth. The national economy is sometimes a lot like a rollercoaster rideup one year, then plummets the next, but for the most part GloryBee has done well.

Our business is primarily dependent on the prices of commodities, so when honey prices drop, they affect our bottom line, but I’d say our greatest challenge has been more about staying true to our principles and core values, no matter the cost. There have been many opportunities for us to cut corners and make some shady business deals, but that’s not what GloryBee believes in.

We look to create a business and workforce that operates with the highest environmental and ethical standards. It’s been a real learning experience discovering how we can minimize the environmental impacts of our operations, like reducing our energy, waste and water use.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to raise $200,000 annually for  and reach $500,000 in total financial contributions by the end of 2018. We’ve launched new SAVE the BEE products to gain consumer support, such as SAVE the BEE Honey and SAVE the BEE prepacked fresh nuts and seeds. We will increase sales of Non-GMO Verified, Organic and Fair Trade by 20% by 2020.

Do you have any new initiatives forthcoming for your SAVE the BEE program?

SAVE the BEE (SAVEtheBEE.org) is our flagship cause that we launched in 2012. I really get fired up talking about it. In our first year we realized GloryBee couldn’t save honey bees all by ourselves, so in 2013 we initiated partnerships as a way for businesses, consumers, beekeepers and scientists to work together to end the crisis of declining bee populations. It’s an amazing program.

The really interesting thing is, yes, we are trying to save the bees, but we also realize they have the potential to save us too. For instance, seasonal hunger is a real epidemic. I’m talking about malnourishment that happens in certain times of the year to people, primarily farmers in poor countries.

Did you know there are 78 million coffee farmers who are faced with seasonal hunger each year? Honey Bees can help them! We’re expanding SAVE the BEE to include teaching these coffee farmers beekeeping. The bees pollinate their coffee crops, which means the farmers will have even more coffee to selland the bees make honey from the coffee blossoms, which the farmers can sell during the winter months and stave off seasonal hunger. It’s a wonderful synergy. The farmers take care of the bees and ensure they thrive and the bees take care of the farmers with delicious coffee blossom honey.

The more we understand the challenges bees face, the more focused our actions can be to help them. I encourage everyone to join the movement at SAVEtheBEE.org






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