Recently someone asked in the Facebook Mead group what’s a good price for honey and where would we buy from? Here’s a slight adaptation and expansion of my answer:
Price depends on variety, volume, and location.
The best price I’ve seen on varietal honey of presumably decent quality, is probably local-ish to me (middle of east coast USA). That would be the five-pound jugs of clover honey at Wegman’s grocery stores. They used to be $9.99 each ($2/pound), but are now $13.99 ($2.80/pound). Unfortunately, Wegman’ses are only located in seven states, in the mid-Atlantic coast and northeast. Elsewhere, some other chain might have a similar deal. Many chains, such as Costco, also have 5-pound jugs of wildflower honey at similar prices; the ones linked there also used to be $9.99 each, but are now $16.99 ($3.40/pound). (Eventually I may do a blog post on kinds of honey, including what I mean by “wildflower”, “varietal”, and so on, and why we care.)
The best price I’ve seen on any varietal other than clover, in a volume I personally can make decent use of (i.e., gallon or less, not a multi-gallon bucket), is probably even more local to me. That is the two-pound jars of Gunter’s Honey Orange Blossom, allegedly available at Whole Foods for $8.99, at least the store in Vienna, Virginia. I didn’t notice it in the actual store when browsing a couple years ago, but their web site lists it. No idea if it’s available outside Northern Virginia, especially at that price, since Gunter’s is only about an hour from me.
The second best price on a non-clover varietal, is only an additional half-cent per pound! With an amazing variety of varietals including some pretty exotic stuff, and free shipping to at least anywhere in the continental USA and presumably also Hawai’i and maybe even Alaska, that would be the ten-pound pouches from Wao Kele Honey, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, if you buy more than one pouch. (If you buy only one they’re $50 each, but two or more are $45 each. I bought four, which is enough to last me a couple years. I got orange, lemon, tangerine, and lehua blossom honeys, all of which make great “trads”. Just beware of how fast lehua crystallizes.) It also means supporting a small family business, not a huge chain like Wegmans, Costco, Amazon, or even things Amazon owns, like Whole Foods. Unfortunately, they have no significant web presence, other than their listing under the Hilo Farmers Market. Apparently they have their hands full with all the business they get at the Market and from hanging out (not even advertising much) in places such as the Facebook “Mead” group.
If you can make decent use of multi-gallon buckets, there are lots more options. I’ve heard very good things about Gardner’s Bees and Walker Honey Farm, but can’t speak from experience.
Regardless of volume, though, beware of deals that seem too good to be true. They often are too good to be true; you’ll get that price on that quantity, all right, but the honey is often adulterated with corn syrup, or even downright fake. Anything below about $3 a pound, from a source you’re not familiar with, should be viewed with suspicion.
On the other end of the scale, though, exotic varieties and small quantities can easily go for well over $20 per pound.