It is spring in southern Spain. The Andalusian sun is scaling the sky, coaxing the folded buds of lavender into blossom. And along a dusty track, deep among the stubbly peaks of the Sierra de Grazalema, Puremiel Organic Honey owner Alfonzo Gutierrez Beltran is walking towards his beehives. He is in the process of moving the hives, situating them among the lavender flowers so that the bees can feast easily on this vast bounty of perfumed nectar. Later, as the season turns from spring to summer, he will move the hives to where the thyme is blooming, and then to the eucalyptus groves, and on it goes throughout the year. This local knowledge of the flowers and terrain is crucial to producing high quality honey – a form of embedded knowledge passed down through the generations in Alfonso’s family.
Based in a small, whitewashed town in Andalucía, the Beltran family has been in the beekeeping business for generations. Alfonso is the fifth generation at this hard business, eking out a life of backbreaking physical work in challenging terrain. Yet while Alfonso carries on the family tradition, he has not simply doggedly followed in his parents’ footsteps. Pursuing more global horizons he has worked to create a modern company with innovative package design, while adhering to meticulous standards of product quality, sustainability and organic production.
This combination of local knowledge along with attention to purity and health sets Puremiel Honey apart from the river of industrially produced honeys that have flooded the market in recent years. Puremiel Honey is raw and certified organic and Alfonso is dedicated to using organic methods such as plant extracts to treat illnesses in the hive. Thanks to the pristine nature reserve in which the bees live, the purity of air and water are key contributors to their health and the quality of their honey. Bees are a bellwether species indicating the general health of the environment due to their susceptibility to pesticide exposure and monoculture farming. The health of Alfonso’s bees is a tribute not only to him but to the relatively unspoiled environment they inhabit.
Beyond the honey itself, Alfonso’s eye for innovative design – the sleek minimalist Puremiel jars – sets this line of honeys apart from the crowd. His vision was to create a different place for honey in the home. Departing from the typical squat jar that gathers dust in a kitchen cabinet, the tall sleek bottle is designed to be seen. And, like a fine olive oil, these honeys beg to be drizzled over cheese, fresh bread, and desserts.
Each flavor of Puremiel Honey has beautiful and distinctive characteristics. Whether it’s the mild and delicately floral lavender honey or the woodsy and resinous eucalyptus, these are spectacular for everything from morning tea and toast to drizzling over your next wow-worthy dessert.