Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 20, 2012.

Update #4

Filtering, Bottling and Labeling on the way to a final product

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The last twenty four hours have been an amazing journey! We all thank every one hundred and ninety-five of you, famous and infamous alike that helped us reach our goal! I think that The West Hill Honey Company is a good idea. It is the right thing at the right time with the right person. We are so glad that you agree.

Our story continues. The honey has come up the hill and been extracted. On its way to our current storage method, a white bucket, it gets an initial filtering. This takes out most of the larger chunks of wax, bee parts, and other detritus that has found its way into the honey from the extractor. Once bucketed, it sits in the warmest, least travelled room in our house, the Dining room until we need it to be bottled.

Right before going into the bottling bucket is when we give it a final filtration. A fine nylon mesh catches tiny wax chips as the honey passes through on the way to the bottling bucket. This isn't really necessary because wax and other contaminants are almost all lighter than honey. Meaning eventually those things float to the surface. And point in fact, if we left them in, the honey would be healthier for you. Filtering always removes a little goodness too. But, doing this step makes for honey that is clearer, and a better presentation when the customer first opens the jar. Here we bow to the consumer.

The bottling buckets we have drip honey on to the floor, and the sides of the bottles so that has to be accounted for. We really look forward to the new bottling tanks we will purchase with the Kickstarter money. They will have a dripless valve on the bottom so we can bottle without drips. Currently we have to wash the jars after they are filled and before they are labeled or we get sticky from handling them. If someone picks up one of our jars at a sale, we don't want them to have to wash their hands.

Finally, there is the labeling. We print our labels on our own printer and attach them using an adhesive (my daughter's aluminum :-) dot roller. We think about some day going to pre-printed labels but we like the flexibility we now have. We can make changes to the label anytime we want now. And though the label isn't as permanent, it will smear if it gets wet for instance, the ability to design a custom label in an instant is what keeps us here.

Now you have seen our story of the harvest to the point where we have a finished product. Next comes sales and that will likely be the subject of our next update.

Now that we have made our initial Kickstarter goal we are evaluating what to do next. We are thinking some of setting a stretch goal out there. We work just like any other business. If we get more money, we will find a place for it. If we can line up more locations, we need more hives. We need a clarifying tank to hold warmed honey. We need a hydrometer so we can measure the moisture level of honey before we bottle it. We need some sturdy steel shelving to put jars on. We need a couple more smaller sized bee suits so we can suit up more kids and teach them about bees. When you have a business there are always needs. We will try to get these things laid out after Natalie gets home from school today and get something posted tonight. Keep passing the word!

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Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Angela on September 13, 2012

      This is probably one of the most heart-warming and worthwhile projects on Kickstarter. I wish you all the luck in your future business (and I can't wait to taste the honey) :)

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    23 backers

    Thank you for supporting our project! As a token of our appreciation we will send a Thank You Postcard signed by Natalie! You will also be added to our Mailing List!

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    17 backers

    Our honey is a savory addition to baked goods, main dishes, and treats! In addition to sending out our sweet Thank You Postcard and being placed on our Mailing List, you will receive an emailed collection of our favorite Honey Recipes!

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    Our little “ladies” collect nectar from the numerous wildflowers located around our neighborhood and the Chippewa Valley. We would like to spread the joy with you by sending a packet of Wildflower Seeds. Plant them around your home to attract your own honey bees! You will also receive our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included.

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    105 backers

    Now for some yummy treats! We are excited to share our delicious honey with you! You will receive a 5 ounce Honey Bear and our homemade Lip Balm. Mouthwatering treats to soothe the lips and stimulate the palate! You will also receive our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included.

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    34 backers

    Bigger is better! You will receive a One pound Bottle of our delicious Honey and our homemade Lip Balm. You will also receive our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included. Note: Although we usually use only glass bottles to package our honey, for mailing purposes we will be using a plastic bottle. If you are located nearby, you are very welcome to come meet the beekeeper and pick up your rewards!

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    14 backers All gone!

    Comb is honey in its purest form. It does not undergo any processing other than to be hand-cut from the frame and joined with liquid honey in a one pound jar. Been wanting to see what comb honey is all about or discovered that it is hard to find? Many beekeepers no longer offer this rare treat! You will receive a One pound Jar of our Comb Honey and our homemade Lip Balm. Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included. Note: Although we usually use glass bottles, for mailing purposes we will be using a plastic box. If you are located nearby, you are very welcome to come meet the beekeeper and pick up your rewards!

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    We immediately sold out of our comb honey. So, we will make you a deal. We will send you a honey bear to tide you over until spring. It will give you a tease of what is to come. Then as early as we can next year we will send you our freshest most pure comb honey. It does not undergo any processing other than to be hand-cut from the frame and joined with liquid honey in a one pound jar. Been wanting to see what comb honey is all about or discovered that it is hard to find? Many beekeepers no longer offer this rare treat! You will receive a One pound Jar of our Comb Honey and our homemade Lip Balm. Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included. Note: Although we usually use glass bottles, for mailing purposes we will be using a plastic box. If you are located nearby, you are very welcome to come meet the beekeeper and pick up your rewards!

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    Farmers Markets and produce stands are a great resource for obtaining locally grown fresh foods. Grab our canvas bag and head out on a gustatory adventure! We are excited to offer you a Canvas Tote Bag personalized with The West Hill Honey Company logo emblazoned on the front! Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included.

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    The seasons and location of the hives greatly influence the essence of the honey. Our late springtime yield vastly differs in flavor and hue from the Autumn harvest. Our town honey is a floral bouquet while the country honey is richer and darker in color. Wouldn't it be fun to explore these subtle differences in aroma and taste? We will send you four One Pound Bottles from each of our locations and intervals of extraction. Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Mailing cost included. Note: Although we usually use glass bottles, for mailing purposes we will be using a plastic bottle. If you are located nearby, you are very welcome to come meet the beekeeper and pick up your rewards!

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    Curious about what really goes on in a hive? Are you a teacher or have inquisitive family or friends? Got questions? We have answers! Gather round the computer screen and we will dive into one of our hives and give a tour via Skype. This 1-2 hour Lesson can be tailored to suit your curiosity. Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List.

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    For this reward we will go beyond virtual tours and get into the action! You will be suited up and given a live tour of our beekeeping operation. We will open up the hives and see what really goes on behind the scenes! Upon conclusion of the tour we will send you home with a one pound bottle of honey! Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List.

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    Adopt a Hive! Your name will be placed on a hive in the form of a plaque and during next years season you will be sent frequent reports on how your ladies are doing! At the end we will also send you a one pound bottle of Honey from your hive! Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Note: Although we usually use glass bottles, for mailing purposes we will be using a plastic bottle. If you are located nearby, you are very welcome to come meet the beekeeper and pick up your rewards!

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    Fascinated with the idea of having your own bees? It is very exciting to taste the honey collected from your own neighborhood! Not to mention personally assisting in the pollination of nearby gardens and fields. We will purchase and setup a hive just for you! You will host a hive on your property for at least one season and receive ten pounds of the honey harvested from your hive! Also included is our sweet Thank You Postcard, collection of savory Honey Recipes, packet of Wildflower Seeds, and you will be placed on our Mailing List. Note: You must be located within 30 miles of Chippewa Falls for our ease of regular maintenance. The hive is owned by West Hill Honey and must be returned on demand after one season. Longer stays can be negotiated.

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- (30 days)