I started looking into a good source for raw local honey because I've had a terrible time with allergies this year and I've read in various places the benefits of what raw local honey can do for your allergies. It will help to build up a person's immunity to the local environment, thus alleviating your allergy symptoms. I'd had a terrible hacking allergic cough for over a month when I went searching for the locally produced honey. Nothing commerically made had worked for me (although Sinex was keeping the cough down somewhat). So, I asked the blog readers on Facebook where they recommended getting some locally made honey.
More than a few people e-mailed me and/or posted on Facebook that the "Alaska Honey Man" was the best. Alaska Honeyman is run by Joe Soltis, and this business makes like TONS of honey related products.
I looked through the list online and decided what I wanted to order. At the time I was feeling so terrible I really did not want to go into Non-Essentials in Palmer to get some honey (they carry AK Honeyman/Chugiak Heights Honey all the time), so I put together an order online. One of the things that caught my eye when ordering was the creamed pollen. Creamed pollen is not only supposed to help your allergies since it's the pure pollen that the bees bring to the nest ready to be made into honey, so you're literally getting a basic allergy shot when you eat some of that stuff, but it's also supposed to have other health benefits. It's supposed to improve your energy and your mental alertness. Consider it a new "natural miracle drug" for it's time ;). Anyway, I really wanted to try some of it if for no other reason than to see how it would work on my allergies, but the site wouldn't let me add it to my order. So, I ordered some creamed honey and some flavored honey sticks and called it good, figuring I'd just e-mail and get the items added to my order.
Well, that didn't work. I ended up calling when I hadn't heard anything back on my e-mail in a couple of days and found out that they didn't really do invoicing over paypal and stuff and to add something to my order sounded horribly complicated. The person I talked to suggested that I hit a Saturday market or Non-Essentials to buy the products (not terribly helpful when you don't want to go anywhere), so I gave up and just jetted into Palmer and got the creamed pollen at Non-Essentials.
So, here's a breakdown of what I thought of the products. The flavored honey sticks...awesomely yummy! MUCH cheaper to buy at Non-Essentials than online. I got a 10 pack for 3.50 (I thought it was a 20 pack, but it's 10 sticks chosen from 20 favorite flavors...that was my fault for reading it wrong) and they are only .25 at Non-Essentials, so you can get 1/3 of your cost whacked off (minus your shipping costs too) than ordering these suckers online and you can choose your flavors that way.
The creamed honey is so utterly delicious I am so happy I bought it :). I've been drinking it in tea with some lemon when my allergies get to me. I love the thick creamy texture to creamed honey and it's awesome on hot home made bread with a little butter mixed in. The main reason I ordered the creamed honey was because I'd never tried it before and I was curious. I can see why people swear by the stuff. I've been eating a dollop of it on some strained yogurt I made and using it to sweeten it. Yum!
The creamed pollen is a hard one. I find that the taste is akin to eating a flower honestly. It's not terrible, but not something you'd want to eat by itself just because it tasted good. Now IF you mix this in with peanut butter and spread it on bread it makes everything taste much better, which is what I've been doing to get my daily dose of creamed pollen into my diet. Has it cured my allergies? Not that I can see, but my cough has gotten a LOT better since I started taking it. Whether that's from the weather, reducing the dust and other allergens in my house or what, I'm not really sure. But, I'm not complaining.
Now where the creamed pollen shined, in my opinion, is in the sheer amount of ENERGY you get when you add this stuff to your diet. I'm one of those people who is just tired all of the time...have been that way for years. Why? I've never been able to find out why, but it's just the way it is. Since having kids a tremendous lack of sleep sure has not helped matters at ALL. After 2 days of adding this stuff to my diet I noticed a major energy boost during the middle of the day after eating it, where normally I'd be crashing hard in the afternoon and living on coffee. I guess creamed pollen is also a complete food, so you could theoretically survive on this stuff and water, so I'm sure there's some calorie burning power in it.
You can buy Alaska Honeyman products, as I said, at Non-Essentials in Palmer and at the Saturday Market. When I called they did say they were working on updating their website too, so hopefully that system will work better soon.
Just a warning, online ordering is also expensive. Shipping cost me 12.00 for the items I bought (honestly if I'd known how big Non-Essentials storefront had grown I would have just bought the stuff there and called it good...but yeah that's telling you how cruddy I felt that I was willing to shell out 12.00 in shipping to get some honey), so be sure you want a big order of this stuff before ordering.
So, in short my opinions:
The products: Stupendously yummy and it seems at least partially effective in helping to fight allergies.
The website: Clunky, in some cases defective (not working) and orders are impossible to change pretty much. Also a flat 12.00 beginning shipping fee, so be sure you're putting together a good order before going through the trouble. Not a big fan of their online ordering at this time.
Where to buy: I'd go for the Saturday markets if you are into that scene or hit the following stores...
- Palmer/The Valley: Non-Essentials: (next to Fireside Books in Downtown Palmer)
- Anchorage: Natural Pantry, Anna's Health Food's
- Eagle River: Ri-generation Nutrition
- Everywhere Else: Try a phone order would be my best advice before trying the website. They will ship pretty much everywhere, although they do not guarantee the safe arrival of glass (per their website) due to shipping companies not guaranteeing the arrival...the stuff I got was well packed in shredded heavy duty paper though.