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"Our products are freshly handmade to order just for you!"

We hand pack our raw honey jars directly from the field. The raw honey is frozen for 2 weeks at -20 degrees. This unique ice honey, sets up in the dark to a luxurious spreadable honey butter. Our raw honey is bursting with unique floral bloom and is sure to please the most discerning honey connoisseur.

Sweet Pure Honey Blog


What's new at Sweet Pure Honey? Read our blog posts below:

 

A close friend shared a link for FREEBRUARY with me last month in a message.

https://www.freebruary.ca/

FREEBRUARY

 

When you have a friend you trust share content with you, it is usually relevant. I clicked the link and watched the one minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBn_C3sL-JjnR0U-woH8uPg

 

I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of this. They bring together Canadian brands in one place for the month of February to share the best deals they can. 

The thought is to bring makers together, offer great deals and give always all while getting their products into people hand’s. 

 

I was on Clearing A New Path podcast with Andrew talking about how important this campaign is for brands and producers. “Imagine if you committed to discovering or buying one new thing you found on the website? 

That could change the course of some Canadian small business for the year.” We talked about how important word of mouth and telling your friends if you like them really is. 

 

Here’s the link to the podcast on iTunes: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/clearing-a-new-path/id1591915743?i=1000597543198

Here it is on the podcast website:

https://www.clearinganewpathpodcast.com/podcast/episode/1d5e2498/how-freebruary-helps-canadas-producers-andrew-kinear-and-stella-sehn

 

You can find our exclusive offer here https://www.freebruary.ca/post/sweet-pure-honey-2023 or by signing up to our email list.

FREEBRUARY Promotion

 

Thank you for all your support, we appreciate your business. We will always invest right back into the consumers who purchase our products. 

We are still standing and operating as a family farm because of you! 

Stella Sehn Co Founder / Owner Sweet Pure Honey

bee on dandelion

After two years of pandemic instability and a spring season described as one of the worst on record, we remain focused on recovery for our bee hives and honey business. Our commitment to our family heritage farm and small business we built from it has come full circle this year.

This spring’s abnormally long-lasting cold temperatures, which caused honey bee deaths and delayed hive development, has us shifting focus to recovery strategies.

You can read all about it here, Kendall King has an in-depth honest conversation with Smokeybeekeeper.

This year saw a substantial amount of queens born and raised right here in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan.

After three seasons of trials we are confident that raising our own queens from survivors of our inhospitable winters is the way forward.

I still will bring in other queens from other operations, there are a lot of great queens being raised out there and diversity in genetics is important in healthy bees.

Thanks to all of you who have chosen with their dollar and their hearts. Your continued support grows bees and that is something to be proud of.

You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @smokeybeekeeper.

Cheers Sheldon Hill (Smokeybeekeeper)

smokey beekeeper blog 2 copy


 

Sweet Pure Honey is going through some necessary changes in order to ensure we can continue operating and offering our raw honey to all of you.

The abnormal cold spell resulted in our family farm losing roughly half our hives – an estimated 350 of our 700 bee hives.

As we can no longer continue to absorb the heavy bee losses we have had to change how we operate our small business. 

Due to a limited honey supply, it is now a precious commodity.

Shifting away from wholesaling our raw honey in retail stores we are now offering direct farm sales. This will help with a much needed cash flow into our small business.

What can you do to help us?

Every jar of honey you purchase through sweetpurehoney.ca goes directly to support Smokeybeekeeper’s hives.

I will be attending 3 shows in Medicine Hat, this September. Purchasing our Sweet Pure Honey products directly supports our farm and bees.

Sharing our website and posts helps us get the word out as well. We appreciate all of your support, thank you for choosing to support Canadian farmers. 

Our small business is still standing because of your purchasing power, thank you.

Thank you!

I look forward to connecting with you all in the coming weeks.

Stella Sehn (the Honey Lady)

smokey beekeeper blog 4


Where to find Sweet Pure Honey?

Sweet Pure Honey Raw White Honey

Place an order online through our website, pick up available in Medicine Hat. We offering great pricing on multiple jars, with affordable shipping options.

Every online order receives free samples of our beeswax cosmetics and honey soap.

We have a permanent shelf space at the Homestead Market (1750 Gershaw Dr SW, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 5E1) Tues.-Sun. 10am-4pm

 

Something For Everyone Market (Cypress Centre) Sept.10: Sat. 10am-4pm Sept.11: Sun. 10am-3pm

Together Again Street Festival (Downtown 1st Street) Sept.17: 12pm-6pm

Women in Business Expo (Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede) Sept.24: 10am-3pm

I am finally at a point where I can begin sharing again. The past few years farming has seen Sweet Pure Honey having to develop new ways of doing things.

  • Through fighting to save our bee farm I was reminded why we started our business in those early years with young babies. In having to confront the possibility of losing it all we were reminded why it is worth saving. We both realized just how much we love each other and this little family we created. We survived and now we are fighting to save our bee farm.

Our Wonderful family


My good friend Mathew Astorga featured our story on his show Food Power


Matt Astorga came into our lives at time where we had given up on our own dreams and our future in farming looked bleak. Having the team film at our bee farm over 3 days infused us with a sense of optimism. Through seeing ourselves and business from the eyes of others, we were encouraged to keep trying, to believe we can make this happen. It came at time while I was confronting Canada's history with Indigenous people as more and more bodies were being discovered on former residential school grounds.

Matt and Sheldon at our bee farm


Filled with love and support I wanted to raise that level of awareness and have those conversations with others.

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for businesses I focused towards repairing the damage and how I can mend those relationships through our business.

Reconciliation is accomplished by embracing change, something we had to get used to over the past 4 years.

We created a honey display box that sees 10% of our sales go directly to support social change. I am happy to announce Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes is our first recipient. This incredible lady reminded me how wonderful it feels to watch others grow and thrive. She gave me hope for the future. Ina reminded me to use the power I have, where I am to effect change. She had me at her pursuit of becoming the first female of Blood Tribe to be an Advanced Care Paramedic.

Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes

Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes

"Do things that scare you, don't let fear live your life for you."


Tell me a little about yourself.

Oki! (Hello) My name is Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes, I am of the Blood Tribe that also takes up the name Kainai Nation located in Standoff Alberta.

How did you end up in Medicine Hat, AB?

My journey to Medicine Hat has been long overdue as I have been working towards being here since graduating High School in 2016. I have worked towards attending Medicine Hat for their Applied Bachelors in Health and Science Paramedic Program. It is the only program that offers a Bachelors degree within Para-medicine in all of Canada. For these reasons I chose to attend this College in pursuit of becoming the first female of Blood Tribe to be an Advanced Care Paramedic.

What is the main drive behind becoming a paramedic?

As First Nation, we cannot take chances into something we dream. I was taught to make choices in order to survive and everything within my life has allowed me to conclude that I would make a great Advanced Care Paramedic. When my uncle died I was not phased and since growing up I always love a good rush that life can bring. I recognized that my love for adrenaline, people, and concentration under pressure are skills that can be put to good use. Along this journey my mom got me an opportunity to work as a Fire Fighter at Blood Tribe Emergency Services where I had done that on and off for 5 years. This only gave me the passion and experience I was missing to affirm my decision. From assisting on calls and only seeing the patients who are my people for a short time has given me the drive to be the change and take the action so I can see them through that call. I want to be there for my people, speak our language to our elders, and give the empathy they deserve within my patients most vulnerable time in their lives without judgment. I have all the right reasons, I just need the education.

How has your journey lead you to start your own business?

Growing up I was told by a someone that my chances were one in a million and I needed to be realistic. While working at the Blood Tribe fire hall, I was encourage by my cousin Jared Weasel Moccasin to paint a large scale canvas. Before this, I had never knew my art held value . Once that opportunity arose I began taking opportunities when they came. This has allowed me to take chances within art and within work.

We met unexpectedly. Listening to you speak so honestly and passionately about your family and business reminded me of all the reasons I started my own. How has our encounter changed the way you think?

It has inspired me of everything I can be and so much more. It allows me to see what my small business can be and what I can become.The fact that I see your small business do so many things, and especially your trip to Vancouver was something I didn't know small business could pursue. Now I know I can too! It's one of those things where I don't know what questions to ask due to my ignorance in starting out but your example has allowed me to witness all the questions I never thought to ask.

What is your hope for the future?

I would like to go as far as designing my own apparel from the material and on wards.

I hope this small business can become a name to an animation industry one day or be apart of one. I would like to make animated movies of our indigenous ways through compelling stories and moving artwork. Featuring voices of Indigenous people themselves unlike some movies that tell a story of our ways but don't cast our people. I hope that I can promote and represent us for who we truly are on the inside rather than what others have only seen on the outside. 

How can people best support you? 

  • By promoting https://somethingwonderfulstudios.com and sharing my story.
  • Recommending themes in which they would like to see on apparel, I can do the rest. Purchasing is also something that helps, even if it's only one of our quality products. I also do different mediums of artwork.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.regarding any themes or designs you would like to see!


Stella presenting Ina with a support chequeStella and Ina

*Previously Published by Prairie Post - February 17/2021

Many people in southeast Alberta know Stella Sehn, the hardworking and engaging face of Sweet Pure Honey

Besides making a lot of the natural honey home-based products such as soaps, cosmetics and spreads, Sehn is constantly marketing, shipping and finding new customers all over the world for the business.

While highly visible, Sehn will be the first to tell you it is a two-person effort and her partner Sheldon Hill is the beekeeper for the operation. A high demanding job, it is far more physically and mentally demanding than one would expect. 

Sweet Pure Honey Hives

 

It surprised even him. Having been raised and of course working on a mixed grain farm, Hill was not expecting it to be as difficult as it is. For example, he did not know it was going to be as hot as it was.

I grew up on a farm and I thought I knew what it was like to work hard,” explains Hill.  “Honestly, this job is not for everybody. It is mentally very tough…it pushes you to your physical limitations”, (it is) ,“too much for some people. …it is so hot., it is like running a marathon. I don’t know how to describe it. It really pushes you physically and mentally. It sees what you are made of. I kinda like that challenge of it (now). At first, it was terrible.

Sweet Pure Honey has their hives based in Porcupine Plain Sask, which is about an eight-hour journey from their home base in Medicine Hat. Hill indicates has approximately 400 hives which fluctuates depending on the year.

Hill explains they produce about 200-250 lbs per hive during the season, so typically Hill is looking at 80,000-100,000 lbs of just the honey itself. The box weighs 20-22 lbs so besides a lot of the technical work, the physical labour is demanding.  

So (in the summer) you are lifting about thousands of pounds every day around by hand with a suit on, in the hottest part of the day,” adds Hill. “If the weather is good, you need to be bringing in honey.Like the old saying goes,’ Make hay when the sun is shining’”. You get that odd day where it is rainy and so it is kind of a break so it’s nice. Because you just going so hard for so long.

  Sweet Pure Honey Bee

 

The season is coming fast for Hill. It all starts in March is when there is an examination of the hives and treat for Varroa mites, make sure they still have enough food. He says this progresses and continues into April. You keep checking to make sure your hives have enough feed and maybe put on a pollen patties. He will generally be unwrapping hives in early May and replacing any needed hives for the new season. 

This continues of ensuring of food, checking the bees’ health, raising Queen cells and nucleus colonies to make up any winter loss. 

With bees the real struggle is trying to keep your honey producing numbers up. This is your greatest challenge,” explains Hill. “It proved even more challenging with flight restrictions last spring from places like New Zealand and Chile where some of the replacement hives come from to cover winter losses. I am not sure of the actual numbers, but just in Saskatchewan It would be tens of thousands of packages that were expected by beekeepers to cover their losses that didn’t arrive because of the lockdowns.

Last spring was very cold and damaging to bees across most of the prairies, the hives just couldn’t get a break, they couldn’t fly, they couldn’t get some pollen and get that queen laying , as a result when the weather finally did change we had more hives that made it through winter and died in the spring because of the cold weather, and if they didn’t die they were small and weak. Being smaller and weaker, this hurts their ability to collect nectar later on, you need lots of bees to produce honey and If you don’t that affects yield.

The payoff is when there’s honey to be harvested, something he describes as flow. Honey flow usually starts about in the second week of July for them. From that point they are harvesting and extracting the honey from the honeycomb.

The days all start at 6:30 a.m. and go until 5 p.m.

The Sweet Pure Honey Farm

 

You’re working at a heavy hard pace. When you’re harvesting honey, lot of moving hive around chasing source your moving hives there is lots of many less glamorous jobs that have to get done. It adds up to a lot of long physically demanding days, a lot of the jobs are still done by hand. Those days are quite hot, quite long. It’s heavy, explains Hill of his summers. You’re pushing yourself to the physical limits.

 

Sheldon Hill tending to our bee hives

 

I drink as much as a gallon of water a day. I will do nothing but sweat that out all day, that is how much I am sweating all day. I am literally soaked from top to bottom in sweat. You know when you can feel the sweat running down your calves, it’s a hot day out there. Even the people who want to come and work and you try to explain to them what their job will entail like maybe little things that they need to worry about — like hydration obviously is a big one. Eating well and getting enough sleep is important.

In each of the hives, consists of nine frames in each box, a good hive will have 5 or 6 boxes of honey each . You get the bees off the honeycombs by encouraging them to move down to the bottom of the hive. You take all of the honey boxes off and replace them with empty boxes. Take the full boxes back to the warehouse to be extracted. To extract the honey, the frames are run through an uncapper to take the thin layer of was off the top of the honey than ran through a large cylinder-shaped extractor. It is spun in circular fashion at high speed and centrifugal force spin the honey out of the frames. The honey comes out the extractor and is pumped to a storage tank and then run into 45 gallon drums for storage, ready for shipping.  

Harvest continues until about the last week in August where they start to getting the hives ready for winter. There are disease treatments, picking out hives that won’t make the winter and feeding them enough to make it through the long winter ahead. In late September they wrap them up and by mid October they are finished.

 

Harvest times at Sweert Pure Honey

 

Most people don’t know a whole lot about it, (beekeeping); it is not a very common business,” explains Hill. He says the public doesn’t understand or have been exposed to the industry. “I don’t think they understand much about bees. It is hard to describe the process unless you have gone through it. I have done a lot of jobs in my life, liked worked in the oil patch. I’ve done a lot of physical jobs. I have worked with a company where I dug ditches by hand for 10 hours a day replacing gas lines in old natural gas facilities and had to dig these by hand. Even that, it pales in comparison to this job.

Dealing with the heat can be challenging,” Hills says it pushing the workers so physically hard that some people just break.” The suit consist of coveralls with a protective hood is over your head. All that heat is being trapped within the suit, restricting how much air flow one can breathe in. If you are nervous about bees it makes it much more stressful.

 

Sheldon and his bees

 

You are getting stung. You’re in the suits and it might be 30 degrees outside and inside your suit it more like 40 degrees and it just pushes you to the limit of heat exhaustion,” adds Hill. “It’s like someone who challenges themselves to their physical limits that’s sort of where we are at, that’s sometimes too much for some people.

 

They have a wide range of products besides the raw honey with bath and body (soap, lip balm, scent sticks) and other beeswax products like candles.

 

Sweet Pure Honey face and body products

 

Hill has worked in the oil patch during the bee offseason, but this winter was laid off. A lot of effort is put into the online store.

It has been a struggle for Hill and his wife Stella Sehn regarding their honey business.

 

The last couple of years has been really bad for some people in our industry in western Canada. Personally, two years ago we had the smallest crop I have seen in the 25 years of beekeeping. Last year’s crop in 2020 was smaller yet,” explains Hill. “This year the price increased, but only because honey production was so dismal in almost all of western Canada. The previous four years the price of honey barely covered costs. This is the pressure I have been under for the last five years.

 

Hill add it is comparable to any pressure any commodity producer has.

 

I don’t know if it’s worse now or not.  I think that If you grew up on a grain farm that mental factor is always present and always has been apart of the farming business. I think you are always under some type of stress, things you just can’t control whether it be bad weather or something like that. You are really putting yourself out there. Both physically and monetarily, you are exposing yourself. You are really throwing the dice and hoping it’s going to work out. The amount of money that you put into inputs whether it be grain farming, (apiaries) on a hope and prayer It’s a stressful environment.

 

Sheldon Hill our beekeeper

Throw in bee disease concerns and long, cold springs and you have a recipe for tough years. Any stress to the bees will cause their demise.

 

You have a general idea from years past (how it will go), but you won’t real know until you open them up in spring and you see how they overwintered… You do what you can to keep your numbers up. We are honey producers so there is a line there… It kind of fluctuates up and down.

 

It is a mentally exhausting industry both from the actual work to the concern of whether or not they can survive from a financial viability standpoint. 

 

Sheldon Hill

 

There is open discussion about saving small businesses, Sehn describe how they have to save the bee farm. It was a mental strain on both of them. Hill has gone to writing a blog on the Sweet Pure Honey website discussing mental health challenges and thoughts of suicide. Sehn says they are doing everything they can to save their family bee farm.

Sehn points to a big part Hill’s mental decline was due to financial stress over the past four years. The petroleum sector’s crash forced Hill out of his off season job which helped pay a lot of the bee farm’s costs.

 

We have always worked hard and just need to be paid fairly for our crop to move forward, explains Sehn. 

 

She is hoping that people would invest in their special hive gift box package https://www.sweetpurehoney.ca/shop/online-market/invest-a-hive-box-detail.html that goes directly to help cover their spring input costs for their hives. She says they need to sell 200 invest a hive boxes to cover their spring input costs.

 

OUr Family


Those in agriculture who need counselling help can call Farm Rural & Northern Support Services anytime (24 hours a day) at 1-866-367-3276.

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Contact Us

Sweet Pure Honey mailing address  Box 483 Porcupine Plain SK S0E 1H0

Sweet Pure Honey telephone  (403) 594-4254

Sweet Pure Honey email  EMAIL