In this exclusive interview with the beekeeper of our multiple award winning Rivera Gum Honey, we posed him a series of questions to understand why this is one of the best honeys in the world.
We at the Latin Honey Shop believe that cultivating personal relationships with the beekeepers is the only way to guarantee that the honey that arrives on your table is genuinely the best.
Our staff travel to Latin America to meet beekeepers and inspect the bee hives where your honey comes from.
Here is what Jorge, the Rivera Gum beekeeper, told us...
LATIN HONEY SHOP: Please introduce yourself.
JORGE: My name is Jorge, I am 57. I was born in Rivera Department in the north of Uruguay near the border with Brazil.
LHS: How long have you been a beekeeper?
JORGE: Since 1985
LHS: Why did you decide to become a beekeeper?
JORGE: I became a beekeeper by chance because my wife's grandfather was a beekeeper and I started beekeeping as a hobby.
LHS: How many years have you been producing Rivera Gum honey?
JORGE: I have been producing Rivera Gum honey since 1995.
LHS: What was your reaction when you first realised that Rivera Gum honey is special? :-)
JORGE: I was not surprised because many people in Uruguay have long appreciated Rivera Gum for its taste, purity and health properties. I am now happy that through the Latin Honey Shop consumers in Britain and elsewhere also have the chance to taste this wonderful honey.
LHS: How many bee hives do you have that produce Rivera Gum honey?
JORGE: I have about 200 hives producing this honey.
LHS: How much honey comes from each beehive?
JORGE: The yield is very variable because it depends on many factors. The main thing is the weather. Sometimes we have only 15kg per hive (per year) but we can also produce 40kg per hive in some years.
LHS: How long does it take to empty the honey from each hive?
JORGE: The Rivera Gum harvest takes place in Uruguay's autumn, April and June, of each year. Honey from four hives is extracted at a time and the entire process takes about half an hour
LHS: Please describe the forest of eucalyptus trees from where the Rivera Gum honey comes? Size? Climate? Terrain? Number of trees? Height of trees?
JORGE: Rivera Department is a province in northern Uruguay that borders Brazil and has an area of 9300km2.
It contains almost 1 million hectares of eucalyptus trees harvested for timber or pulp.
The height of a eucalyptus tree in Rivera is approximately 50 meters.
The soil is unsuitable for agriculture due to a high sand content. The terrain in Rivera is plateaus. Rivera Department is covered in Eucalyptus trees but there are also some pine trees.
LHS: What happens to the bees in winter? Do you feed them sugar solution?
JORGE: In winter the bee population in each hive reduces from 80,000 to 30,000. The bees live off their own reserves of honey and pollen and leave the hive only when the temperature reaches 12C. This usually happens every spring when the forests begin to bloom.
LHS: What challenges do you face in producing Rivera Gum honey?
JORGE: Getting recognition for the quality of my honey was the biggest challenge.
I have always tried to find honey of the best possible quality. I have been an organic certified honey producer since 2002.
To verify that Rivera Gum honey was the best, I entered it into the international Biolmiel competition in 2011.
The ICEA beekeeping laboratory of Argentina held the Biolmiel competition in conjunction with CRA Bologna and the organic consortium of Italy to select the best organic honey in the world. Rivera Gum beat 200 honeys to win the first prize for the tastiest monofloral organic honey in the world.
LHS: Why people should buy and eat your Rivera Gum honey? :-)
JORGE: It is organic and completely pure of pollutants and contaminants. It is a pure monofloral honey, nearly 100% eucalyptus pollen.
It is produced with its taste and health qualities in mind. If you close your eyes and smell it, its scent will transport you to a forest of eucalyptus trees! Its taste is very pleasant to the palate and easy to use for quite creamy honey toast.
LHS: Thank you very much, Jorge!
JORGE: You are welcome. Thank you!
In 2017 our Raw Organic Rivera Gum Honey was awarded a two star Great Taste "outstanding" award by the United Kingdom Guild of Fine Food.
The independent food judges who presented this award commented about the Rivera Gum: "This honey has a fudgy texture but is smooth in the mouth. The depth of the floral notes is outstanding and long lasting. A very special honey indeed."
You can get the butterscotch tasting award-winning Raw Organic Rivera Gum Honey exclusively from the Latin Honey Shop. Click here to order.