The Price of Quallity
Critter commented about giving away half of her honey harvest the other day. Though it is a sweet thing to do I don't think it is all that wise for hobbyists or side-liners. Beekeeping is not an easy task, nor is it an inexpensive one. To get into this field properly it will cost you about a thousand dollars and more depending on how many colonies you purchase.
When people give their honey crop away it devalues all the work of your bees and all the effort you put into it. Add to that the jars and labeling. I sell my honey for $7 a pound and I probably come close to breaking even every year. Most people think the bees do all the work, but in reality I spend at least an hour every ten to twelve days thoroughly inspecting every frame, checking progress, looking for maladies and evaluating mid-stream changes of equipment and population.
When it is time to harvest the honey it usually takes about six hours to extract it from the frames. Bottling takes another four hours and labeling takes another four to five hours.
I don't feel guilty charging $7 a pound considering most of the processed honey on sale at the grocery store is going for close to the same amount. The product I sell is raw (unpasteurized)and the stuff in the store is processed to the point it is no longer honey.
Raw local honey is a premium product. The stuff that is sold at the Sunday Market isn't local. It comes from at least a hundred miles away where they have different flora, climate and soil minerals. The stuff you buy in stores is either from China or it comes from large-scale beekeeprs all over the country who sell their honey to distributors for around a dollar a pound and it is mixed together and processed into a dead product.
So even if you have a hard time selling your own product because you don't like exchanging money, you can always barter.
I don't mean to say that I don't give away some honey. I donate some to worthy causes for auctions and prizes. I give some to some neighbors so they can value what I am doing near them. I give some to people who can't afford to buy it, but most of the people I know can afford it and they know the difference between what is available at the market and the superior quality of what my bees have produced.