Jessica responded to customer demand for value-added products by creating three new product lines: cut-comb honey, spun honey and pollen. She purchased specialized equipment to harvest, process and market these products.
Cut-comb honey is a piece of honey filled comb contained in a glass box. Customers enjoy chewing on or just looking at the attractive comb. “This is a beautiful presentation of honey in its natural state,” Jessica said.
Spun honey is thick spreadable honey made by controlling the naturally occurring crystallization process by seeding it or adding a percentage of already crystallized honey to uncrystallized honey. Small fine crystals form giving the honey a smooth and creamy texture.
Honeybee pollen, which bees collect in excess of what they need for a protein source, is called a “superfood,” and said to have the richest source of vitamins found in nature in a single food.
“When I spent my first two years after high school studying horticulture and botany, I knew at some point I would pursue farming in some capacity,” Jessica said. “However, I never would have imagined the knowledge I gained through those classes would be applied through raising honeybees. My knowledge of plant species and their life cycles have been an invaluable asset to beekeeping.”
Wehrloom Honey opened a new retail store on highly traveled US 129, close to Robbinsville. Jessica has also built an online store on Etsy.com. She currently sells honey and honey-based skin care products to seven retail locations in Graham, Cherokee and Clay counties, and participates in many local festivals and weekly farmer’s markets.
Wehrloom Honey expects to offer jobs for a variety of skill sets. “After losing our county’s largest employer this past year, this is hugely beneficial to our local economy and community’s well-being,” Jessica said. They have already hired one full-time and three part-time employees.