About buying from us
Yes! We’d be more than happy to arrange a curbside pickup. You can select the free curbside pick option through our online shop.
Yes, we ship domestically (anywhere within the U.S.). If you’re outside of the U.S., we’re sorry that we can’t ship to you, but you almost certainly have beekeepers somewhere nearby!
As Little Wren Farm customers, you are a part of our community and we want you to be fully satisfied with your Little Wren Farm product. We don’t take returns, but if you’re not satisfied with your product, we’ll be happy to offer a replacement or refund. Please reach out to us within 14 days of delivery to resolve the issue.
To make this operation sustainable, we can only share with you as much honey as the bees can spare. We leave nearly 100 pounds of honey inside each hive for the winter (the bees will need this to get them through to the spring). If we have a good year, the bees make more honey than they need and we share that with you. When we run out, that’s it and we eagerly await the next season. To find out when our next batch of honey is ready (and keep tabs on what the bees are up to), please sign up for our (infrequent) newsletter and follow us on Instagram.
About Raw honey
Honey will store best in a sealed container, away from direct light, and at room temperature. Your kitchen cupboard is its perfect habitat.
Properly stored honey has a nearly indefinite shelf life. Honey will ferment if the moisture content is too high, and it may lose its aesthetic or beneficial qualities if heated or improperly stored. But if you keep your honey at room temperature and in a relatively dark location (again, your kitchen cupboard) it should last as long as you do!
We generally have honey available from mid summer through mid winter (and our natural bee products may be available even longer). If honey is available, you’ll see it appearing as available at the Shop on this website (if a honey product is sold out you’ll have the opportunity on the product page to ask us to notify you when we have more). If we’re out of honey, don’t fret… the bees will be making more! To be the first to find out when more honey is available, follow us on Instagram where we’ll post product availability updates and other updates about the bees.
Little Wren Farm is a Certified Naturally Grown apiary. Certified Naturally Grown is a U.S.-based, non-profit alternative certification program tailored to the needs of small-scale, direct-market farmers who are committed to organic practices and who don’t use synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms. Like most, if not all, apiaries in the U.S., we could never qualify for USDA Organic certification (read below for the confounding story about USDA Organic certification of honey and why honestly certified organic honey produced in the U.S. probably doesn’t exist). We do manage our bees and produce our honey following the high standards defined by the Certified Naturally Grown program. When you purchase our honey you can be confident that it has been produced with the health of our bees, our environment, and ourselves topmost in mind. More on USDA Organic certification of honey:
Honey sold in the U.S. can be labeled with the USDA Organic certification symbol BUT, as of this writing in early 2021, the USDA has not adopted specific regulations to define organic honey. If you don’t have the patience to read on much further, a simple take-home is that honey sold in the U.S. bearing the USDA Organic seal is most likely imported from other countries (check the fine print on the label and you will likely find that the honey comes from countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay or Canada). Imported honey may bear the USDA Organic certification seal if it meets the originating country’s organic standards and the U.S. standards (remember that there are no adopted U.S. standards).
The US National Organic Standard’s Board (NOSB) has developed recommendations for certification of organic honey produced in the US and, though the USDA has not formally adopted these recommendations, certifying agencies in the US apparently generally refer to these recommendations. However, the NOSB recommendations for certification of organic honey leave most beekeepers in the U.S scratching their heads as to how or whether the standards might realistically be met in the U.S.
For example, one component of the NOSB recommendations would require that U.S. certified organic honey be produced in a hive that is surrounded by at least 10 square miles of land that is managed as certified organic (the “forage zone”). The beekeeper must further demonstrate that organic forage is available within an additional 18 square miles surrounding the forage zone throughout the year.
Keeping in mind that non-organically managed landscapes are nearly ubiquitous in this country (think roadsides, residential areas, non-organic farms, golf courses, commercial and industrial areas, and even many natural areas in which management objectives involve use of pesticides) and the high cost of acquiring land (imagine acquiring 10 or more square miles of land to maintain as certified organic forage for your bees)… it quickly becomes clear that compliance with the certified organic forage recommendation alone would be nearly impossible to achieve in today’s landscape.
For reasons like that illustrated in the example above, most U.S. beekeepers consider it would be significantly stretching the truth to claim that their honey could meet the certification standard. As a result all, or nearly all, honey you find bearing the USDA Organic seal will be honey imported from other countries. Honey that is produced in the U.S. and bears the USDA Organic certification seal may deserve some healthy skepticism.
If consuming certified organic honey is your primary goal, you will likely have to find an imported source of honey (and consider what standards that country applies to their certification process).
In our opinion, if you are looking for high-quality honey, your best bet is probably your local beekeeper who produces raw honey and is direct and transparent with you in communicating their management practices.
While there is no official definition for raw honey, the term is generally used to refer to honey that has not been filtered or heated and that exists essentially as it did in the hive. Filtering and heating can remove and destroy the more sensitive components of honey, including those that studies indicate may be responsible for a wide range of potential health benefits. Much of the honey sold in stores has been heated and pressure-filtered before packaging. Little Wren Farm honey is always raw; our honey has never been heated above temperatures naturally found in the hive and it is processed without filtering. Our honey has never heated above temperatures naturally found in the hive and it is not filtered. We extract the honey from the honeycomb using a manually operated centrifuge and then strain the honey at room temperature to remove pieces of beeswax and other hive debris. After the honey is strained, we let it sit for a couple days to allow any additional debris to naturally rise to the surface. We fill our jars from the bottom of the tank, yielding a clean, unprocessed honey that preserves the natural qualities of honey for you to enjoy. For more on how we process and package our honey, please see the About Us page of this website.
Muth jars are old-fashioned, glass honey jars. These embossed jars are a reproduction of the first jar used specifically for honey and popularized by Charles Muth, one of the largest honey sellers in the 1800’s. After bottling, the honey-filled jars are sealed with a cork and our own natural beeswax. We sell three different sizes of Muth jars of honey and they make great gifts.
Chunk honey is a jar of honey with a luscious slice of honeycomb floating in the jar. Honeycomb is composed of the hexagonal cells of beeswax that bees build to store honey and other resources in the hive. The hexagonal shape allows for the most efficient storage within the available space of the hive. Honeycomb is the most raw, unprocessed honey available, and many people prefer their honey straight from the comb. It’s both a beautiful work of engineering and art, and it’s 100% edible.
Yes! Many people prefer to eat honey straight from the comb, beeswax and all! Toast your favorite bread, spread some butter on it while it’s still piping hot, and cut a small chunk of comb and spread it on top of the butter… delicious. If you’re curious to learn more about appreciating this form of honey, please enjoy what Rusty Burlew of Honey Bee Suite has to say about appreciating honeycomb.
Creamed honey is the same as liquid honey, except that it is in a solid, spreadable state. Creamed honey is created through an intentional, controlled granulation or crystallization of liquid honey, resulting in extremely small sugar crystals and yielding a smooth, spreadable raw honey. The taste and the texture are really lovely, and many people prefer creamed honey to liquid honey. The only difference between creamed honey and honey that has undergone the natural crystallization process that will happen to all liquid honeys over time is that the creamed honey process yields much smaller crystal and thus a much smoother solid honey.
Little Wren Farm honey bees harvest nectar from a wide variety of nectar sources that changes throughout the seasons. Because of the ever-changing sources of nectar, and other variables like weather, our honey varies in color, flavor, and quantity from hive-to-hive, season-to-season, and year-to-year. Our early-season honey (generally harvested between late May and early July) is a light, golden color with a flavor often described as nuanced and floral. Through the season, the color of honey deepens and the flavor evolves into what is often described as a more full bodied and rich flavor. Our mid-season honey (generally harvested in July through mid-August) is medium amber in color, and our fall wildflower honey (generally harvested through late September and made from nectar of late-blooming species, including goldenrod, aster, and Japanese knotweed ) is a deep amber color. People are often fascinated to discover that they have a strong preference for the distinct flavor of honey from one season or another. If you’re interested in comparing, order a seasonal honey sampler to compare and find our what you like!
All honey will thicken and crystallize over time, and this process happens more quickly with raw honey (this is actually a good sign that you are not consuming adulterated honey). This is a natural (and reversible!) process and does not mean the honey has gone bad. Crystallized honey is just as edible and delicious as liquid honey, and many people prefer it over liquid honey. If your honey crystallizes, you can simply continue to use it as-is (spread it on hot buttered toast or drop a spoonful in a cup of tea!), or you can place your jar of honey in a bowl of warm water (or near a source of gentle, low heat) until the honey becomes a liquid once again. Just remember, to preserve some of the best qualities of honey, use only a low, gentle heat.
We use only recyclable and biodegradable packaging. Our honey is packaged in glass jars and our body butter and lip balm is packaged in biodegradable paperboard. None of our products are packaged in plastic.
We don’t like the taste or smell of plastic in our honey and we don’t want to be responsible for any more plastic ending up in our landfills, our soil, our oceans, and our bodies (do a quick internet search on any of these topics if you’d like to understand more about this problem). Plastic is cheap and convenient but, in the long run, this planet can’t afford the cost. We hope that you will reuse your honey jar after you finish your honey and that you’ll recycle it once you can no longer reuse it.
Well, we are very small! And like the very small Carolina Wrens that keep us constant company here, we pack it in. On less than 2/10ths of an acre, we grow apples, peaches, pears, paw paw, figs, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, cranberries, gooseberries, hazelnuts, rhubarb, grapes, vegetables, herbs… and we shoehorn in a small apiary. If you visit us to pick up a honey order, the chance is good that you’ll also hear the Carolina Wrens singing away.
Little Wren Farm donates 10% of its profits to organizations that promote the resilience of our natural environment and our communities. As humans, we take an increasingly heavy toll on this earth. At Little Wren Farm, we are continuing to try to find ways to minimize our own impacts and to support those who are advancing our ability to do this at greater scales across communities and ecosystems. The organizations we support are doing important work in challenging times, and we are thankful to be able to support them and to share them with you. Please visit our We Support page where you’ll find information about some of the organizations we’ve recently supported.
Yes! You’ve spotted the queen. Good job! It’s very useful to be able to spot the queen. To give us a bit of an advantage (there are tens of thousands of bees in a hive!), we put a small dot of bright paint on the queen’s thorax. This doesn’t harm her and it can make it much simpler for us to quickly find her amongst all her thousands of daughters!