Our search for great honey led us to beekeeper Bruce Marquette in Little Falls, Minnesota. Owner of Marquette Honey Farms, Bruce is a third-generation beekeeper, having learned the craft from his father and grandfather who started in the business back in 1905. Bruce bottles our Signature honey using single-source honey, which happens to be the best quality you can buy.
"My wife and I have been beekeeping in Little Falls since 1990 and have always produced single-source honey, selling it directly to our customers," said Bruce. "We produce from the middle of June through the middle of August when our bees get nectar from basswood and clover. This is the time of year when we get the best-quality nectar in Minnesota."
The remainder of the year, Marquette bees continue to be productive in other ways. Every fall, the hives are loaded onto semi trucks for the journey to California. In mid-February, the bees are used to pollinate almonds as well as plums, apples, cherries and other fruit trees in the orchards there.
"I go to California myself at the end of March and split the hives, introducing new queen bees to increase my number of hives," adds Marquette. "The hives are then shipped back to Minnesota at the end of April to get ready for the honey production season here."
When it is time to harvest the honey, the bees are moved to two boxes at the bottom of each hive. The boxes on the top of each hive, called honey supers, are then pulled off and placed in a hot room overnight to stay warm. The wax seal is then removed from the honeycomb and the combs are placed in a large extracting machine where they are spun to remove the honey. The honey is stored in 55-gallon barrels until needed and then gently heated to no more than 140°, filtered and bottled for sale.
Bruce also bottles raw honey for Kowalski's, a product that is valued by many for its medicinal properties. "Many people with allergies consume a teaspoon of raw honey every day as a means of relieving their allergy symptoms," offers Bruce. "Since it isn't heated, the naturally-occurring enzymes and peroxides aren't altered. Raw honey is unfiltered and therefore contains small amounts of pollen and propolis. Lots of home remedies that include raw honey have been used for years, and people swear by them."
Our focus on local has created a great partnership with Marquette Honey Farms that we hope continues for years to come. "Our thirteen-year-old son has recently become interested in working with us, so we too look forward to continuing our business into the next generation," adds Bruce.
Find Kowalski's Honey from Marquette Honey Farms in the Grocery Department of your nearest Kowalski's location. Selection and availability vary by market.