Eat Honey -- Bee Happy. That, in a nutshell, is why we are in business. We seek to promote better health and happiness by eating raw honey and by using other products from the beehive. There are more than 300 different varieties of honey in the world, although fewer than 50 are produced on a commercial scale. We partner with reputable and experienced beekeepers to bring you some of the best and most unique real honey varieties that we can find. We hope that you will be as delighted as we are when you experience these premium honey selections. Whether you eat raw honey each day for the health and nutrition it provides, or whether you are looking for that unique taste or premium ingredient that makes a memorable meal, Smiley Honey has the all-natural, raw and unfiltered honey you are looking for.
Smiley Honey was started by Donald Smiley in 1989. Born and raised in Wewahitchka -- the epicenter of tupelo honey production in the US -- Donald got into beekeeping later in life. Once he had a few hives, however, he was hooked. Donald recalls that "it was like falling in love all over again." Working the bees and harvesting honey became his passion. At the height of his operations, Donald had over 1,000 beehives. In 2012, Donald sold his bees and equipment and retired from day to day operations. But he still drops in from time to time to talk about the "good old days" and give us helpful advice.
The flavor and quality of honey depends on a number of key factors, including: proper care and management of the bee colonies; the location of the bee yards in relation to the target nectar source; the timing of when the honey frames are removed from the hives; and the weather. We can control the first three factors, but the fourth is a wild card that produces many a sleepless night for our beekeeper partners. When Mother Nature is in a good mood, the bees are happy too. Happy bees make bumper honey crops. But when the weather does not cooperate (too wet, too dry, too hot, too cold, etc.), then low yields are the result.
Raw and unfiltered honey is a wonderful gift from nature. Not only does it taste great, but the health benefits of raw honey are well-documented. It is a powerful antioxidant, it boosts the immune system, it promotes better digestion, and helps to regulate cholesterol and sugar levels (among other things). Many honey lovers also report that local, raw honey helps to treat seasonal allergies. Raw honey is loaded with beneficial enzymes, pollen, vitamins and minerals, which we preserve through minimal processing. Healthy living and raw honey go together like summer and sunshine. And our all-natural, raw honey is about as close as you can get to reaching into a beehive and grabbing a handful of golden goodness.
We bottle and sell raw honey only. It comes to you exactly as the bees made it. We do warm the honey slightly to facilitate bottling (to around 105 degrees), and we strain out bits of beeswax and miscellaneous bee parts. But you may still see a thin layer of foamy beeswax at the top of the bottle, or a few specks floating in your honey. These are edible and they attest to the natural goodness of our products.Over time, most raw honey varieties will crystallize (also called 'sugaring'). Certain honey types like tupelo, sage, sourwood and holly will resist crystallization, but even these honey varieties may form a small layer of sugar at the bottom of the jar or bottle. Other honey varieties such as clover, citrus, cotton, orange blossom and wildflower may sugar quickly. It is important to understand that sugaring is a natural, physical change that is easily reversed by placing the honey jar in a pan of hot water until the sugar crystals dissolve. If there is a lot of crystallization, then you may need to repeat the process a few times. Or, on a bright summer day, you can simply place the honey jar outside on a dark surface and let the warm sunshine dissolve the sugar crystals in a few short hours.
All of our honey is sold by weight, not volume. Also, you should not feed raw honey to children under one year old.
If you are ever down in Wewahitchka, please stop by. We love visitors, and you can save a lot on shipping costs by getting your honey directly from our bottling facility. We are generally open Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 3 pm (central time). But you should call ahead to be sure, because we are sometimes closed for one reason or another (like delivering honey, visiting with beekeepers, or maybe even fishing).
-Brian D. Bertonneau, Owner