Farms

Organic Apiculture

Well suited to the climate and vital for pollination, bees are a central component of the agricultural operations at the Reñihué, Pillán, Vodudahue, and Hornopirén farms, where hundreds of beehives produce tons of honey annually. Marketed under the label Pillán Organics, this honey—certified organic by the rigorous, Switzerland-based certifier IMO— represents the union of production and conservation. Bees feed on the flowering trees of the farms and Pumalín Park's expansive forest; the exceptional flavor and purity of the resulting honey serves as one of its chief selling points.

 

Colorful apiary layout in Hornopirén

Ulmo tree flowers are the key ingredient for our honey

The Pillán Organics apiaries produce ulmo honey, composed primarily from the nectar of the ulmo tree, and native forest honey, a polyfloral honey that combines the nectar of dozens of flowering tree species. Both varieties are amber-colored, with smooth crystallization and a creamy texture. The honey's distinctive taste reflects its birthplace in the heart of pristine Valdivian temperate rainforest. Far away from industrial farms with their heavy use of agrochemicals and genetically modified organisms, the Pumalín apiaries produce some of the purest honey in the world, and have remained healthy in recent years when beekeepers in North America and elsewhere have been plagued by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). A kind of honeybee AIDS that causes sudden, high levels of mortality in apiaries, CCD is thought to result from multiple stressors, some of which are linked to industrial agriculture. The apiculture practices at Pumalín area farms embody the absolute opposite values as the industrial beekeeping operations that provide pollination services to corporate agribusiness's monoculture crops.

 

Part of the honey production facilities in Pillán

Vats for heating and refining honey

All steps of honey production take place on the farms, thus helping to create a thriving local economy. Beehives from the four farms are brought to a central processing facility at Pillán. After honey has been separated from honeycombs, the wax is melted down and reshaped for use the next year as starting material in beehives. The certified organic wax processing facility at Pillán is likely the first of its kind in South America. Keeping the wax free of toxic residues helps keep the bees healthier, and, in keeping with the farms' overall philosophy of animal husbandry, it is assumed that healthy, unstressed bees will be happy bees. The honey is heated and purified before being bottled in aesthetically pleasing reusable glass jars. Sold throughout Chile and abroad, the honey of Pillán Organics serves as a delicious introduction for consumers to the Pumalín Project. As the labels says, "it's a sweet solution to saving the native forest".

 

Honey for sale at one of our gift shops

Hard-working bees

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