Thursday, January 3, 2008

Supply-Side Memo: Sweet Success With Organic Honey

For 25 years Richard Spiegel has been producing and marketing organic specialty honey from his company headquarters--a converted hog barn--in Hamakua, on Hawaii's Big Island.

Spiegel, who refers to himself as a retired hippie, owns Volcano Island Honey Co., where he produces award-winning organic kiawe honey using sustainable farming and production methods.

Spiegel recently told writer Karin Stanton in an article by the Associated Press, and published in the Honolulu Advertiser, that sales of his organic honey are so good he's having trouble keeping up with the demand. However, he added, he doesn't consider that his real success. Rather, Spiegel says, his goal is to "inspire other farmers to look for creative, eco-friendly and sustainable methods to produce good food."
"I've been trying to change the world since forever," he told Stanton. "I started as a lawyer, but that wasn't doing it." he added.

It seems Spiegel found his calling not in the law, but rather with the bees, producing and marketing organic honey.

Volcano Island Honey Co. produces and sells what it calls Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey. Honey varieties include: Organic White Honey, Organic Winter Honey, White Honey With Organic Ginger, Organic White Honey With Hawaiian Lilikoi and others. (See a complete list here.) The sweet nectar has won numerous specialty product awards including a Silver Sofi in 2007 for outstanding new product from the National Association for the Specialty Foods Trade (NASFT).

Richard Spiegel (left) explains the fine points of how he produces his organic honey and farms sustainably to a group touring his farm and production facility.
Spiegel also uses his honey company as an educational laboratory to educate individuals and groups about sustainable and organic farming. He offers tours of his farm and of the production facility, located in the converted hog barn, to students, community groups, neighbors, farmers and agriculture groups--and just about anybody who cares to see what he's up to.

The company also publishes a newsletter which talks about the comings and goings on at the organic farm as well as sustainable and organic farming in general.

We suggest you read more about Spiegel, his award-winning honey, his views on sustainable farming methods, and what he thinks about farming and food production in general, in this short piece from the AP, published in the Honolulu Advertiser (December 31, 2007). It's a sweet story about a natural and specialty foods entrepreneur who's on to a sweet idea. (Full story here.)

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