Beekeeping traditions: The Honey Haus – pure sweetness and more

April 2019 Posted in Community, Food & Drink, Garden

Jennifer Anderson-Rumely of The Honey Haus in Mount Angel. Melissa Wagoner

By Melissa Wagoner

The smell of sweet honey is undeniably in the air in The Honey Haus, a unique Mount Angel shop that offers over eight different varieties of honey on tap.

“This was my husband’s idea,” Jennifer Anderson-Rumely said, indicating the wall of wooden boxes, fitted with taps behind her. “In the Middle East and Europe they have honey shops. And Germany has a lot of honey places. It’s Old World.”

Opened in December, The Honey Haus offers more than just honey. The walls are lined with bee and honey-themed products and the center of the room is set with tables for tea – best served with honey. Anderson-Rumely encourages sampling, especially by kids.

“To see the kids taste is great,” she said. “They light up. I’m having so much fun with the people tasting.”

The honey – which is provided to the store by Pacific Honeybee, the commercial beekeeping company Anderson-Rumely owns with her husband, Leo Rumely – is both raw and 100 percent pure, making it a combination of tasty as well as healthy. The Rumelys, who have been in the commercial beekeeping business for eight years, both grew up around grandfathers who were beekeepers.

“My husband’s great grandparents met beekeeping,” Anderson-Rumely added.

But for the Rumelys beekeeping started out as a side-business that soon took off. Now Pacific Honeybee keeps more than 1,000 colonies, which they move from crop to crop, pollinating fields all over Oregon and California.

“Almonds, apples, blueberries, squash,” Anderson-Rumely listed. “And we are always looking for places that have lots of blackberries and lots of forage. It’s a very difficult way of farming because it’s migrational.”

The necessity of trucking their bees from one state to another is one of the reasons Anderson-Rumely is adding one more product to the list of things The Honey Haus provides – education.

“If it was in more people’s hands, that would be great,” she said of the need for more U.S. beekeepers.

According to Anderson-Rumely, much of the honey used in the United States is currently imported from other countries and most of that is impure, contributing to both lower honey prices for American beekeepers and an inferior product for customers.

“The honey prices right now are not what they should be,” Anderson-Rumely noted. “And the laws are such that you can take 49 percent of something non-specific and add it. What we’re offering is the health benefits at a local level with no middle-man. And it’s best for the community to know their farmer.”

But bee “farmers” are in short-supply, according to Anderson-Rumely, who said that the art of beekeeping isn’t being passed down through family lines the way it once was.

“It behooves all of humanity to get more kids involved,” she said. “Kids love it.”

In an effort to encourage more local beekeeping and a higher public consciousness around the subject, the Rumelys are offering an education night for adults at the Mt. Angel Public Library April 25 at 6:30 p.m.

“It really is an education process,” Anderson-Rumely explained. “We’re giving a talk and tasting to spread interest and give people bolstering and support.”

The Rumelys will also be taking orders for nucleus colonies starting on April 20. Anderson-Rumely is quick to point out that much additional education and planning is required to begin beekeeping.

“They should sign up and then start gathering information and supplies,” she advised. “Our support that we want to give is offering the bees and equipment and resources. We’re just here to provide materials.”

For those who are not interested in keeping bees, but want to support the ones in their environment, Anderson-Rumely recommended growing bee-friendly flowers, eliminating the use of chemicals on lawns and gardens and putting out wasp traps in the spring.

Overall, Anderson-Rumely is just hoping to spread the word about being kind to bees.

“I think it’s really important, that’s why I’m giving away so much of my time and effort,” she said. “We can’t afford this disconnect anymore.”

The Honey Haus 125 N. Garfield St., Mount Angel

Pacific Honeybee Education Night
Mt. Angel Public Library 290 E. Charles St. Thursday, April 25, 6:30 p.m.
Free – but registration required: 503-845-6401

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