It might seem silly to think about, but bees are livestock. They have to be fed and cared for to yield the best food product possible. At Treasure State Honey, Jennifer Quinn and Jim Savoy are passionate about their bees and dedicated to producing delicious honey with the maximum number of health benefits. Many of these health benefits are dependent on the pollen in honey; for instance, honey is a natural antihistamine because it builds up the body’s tolerance to pollen. Bottled honey in stores has mostly been heated and filtered, changing its structure and eliminating many of the health benefits. Treasure State Honey, on the other hand, uses a different process involving gravity flow and straining to keep their honey raw and natural while canning. They also have a calculated method for honey extraction, leaving plenty of leafy spurge honey for the bees and while their customers receive honey with a mild creamy taste and buttery overtones.
Quinn and Savoy grew up around bees. In fact, Quinn is Savoy’s niece; they learned about the honey business from John Barrow, a bee keeper on Savoy’s father’s farm. “We got rent honey from John for letting him raise bees on the property,” says Savoy. “It was better than any of the honey in stores and it got me interested in raising bees myself.” Around five years ago, Barrow was ready to retire from the honey business so Savoy and Quinn decided to buy into it. They started with 500 hives and have increased over time, thanks to many helping hands along the way. Other bee keepers have been very forthcoming with advice and kept Savoy and Quinn going at the start. “There’s a comradery in bee keeping unlike anything I’ve seen in any other industry,” says Savoy. “Every bee keeper I’ve ever come in contact with has been helpful.”
Quinn and Savoy maintain friendly relationships with other bee keepers and they have connections with farmers as well. In the winter, all of Treasure State Honey’s bees are transported to California and in the spring, they are used to pollinate almonds. “The almond industry is dependent on bee keepers,” says Quinn. “It’s good for them and our bees do really good on almond pollen so it helps get them ready for summer honey production.”
Treasure State Honey has 2,000 hives, with each bee colony producing up to 100 pounds of honey or more. (It varies depending on environmental conditions.) In the process millions of bees pollinate flowers and crops, increasing food production. “Without bees, we wouldn’t have food in eight years,” says Savoy, expressing the importance of bees in agriculture. He and Quinn work as much as they can with farmers for the benefit of everyone.
Meanwhile, Treasure State Honey is continuing to expand its production of raw, natural honey to a widening customer base. They are in the process of building a 20,000 square foot extraction and canning facility to accommodate demand and hope to break ground on that this year. Quinn and Savoy have also added to their team Nils and Bernard Barrett to help expand the business.
Treasure State Honey is sold at locations such as Blue Ribbon Gifts and Wheat Montana Deli in Great Falls. To order Treasure State Honey online, visit TreasureStateHoney.com, or you contact them by phone at 406-403-3194. Follow Treasure State Honey on Facebook to keep up-to-date on the business.