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New Liskeard farmer finding niche with black honey

Posch Honey's unique flavour comes from claybelt-grown buckwheat

It seems everyone loves honey, but did you know some of the best is made north of here from buckwheat?

The clay belt in New Liskeard contains a number of farms that are certified "organic" and it's here that Bruce Posch makes his Posch Honey – raw honey with no preservatives.

"I grew a lot of buckwheat for the gluten-free market and I needed pollinators to pollinate the buckwheat, so we got some in. It kind of just evolved into selling honey," Posch said of his accidental introduction into the sweet industry.

His honey is unique because of the plants that grow on his six farms, which equal almost 3.9 square kilometres, but his claim to fame is the black honey.

"In the first part of the summer the bees are into the wildflowers, raspberries and hay fields with all the clover, but the buckwheat doesn't bloom till August so we pull the first clear honey off first, then the black honey starts in August," Posch said.

"Plants don't all bloom in the summer. It's probably nature's way to have enough pollinators to pollinate stuff. Early in the spring, you have dandelions, then chokecherry and wild fruit trees in the hedgerows, then big raspberries in the ravines, then clover and tree foil.

"So if it rains one week and the bees don't get out they might actually miss that species of plant in their honey and that would change the flavour. The next week might be sunny and clear and they would get twice as much of a different plant."

There isn't a lot of buckwheat grown in Canada, and Posch claims to grow the biggest chunk in the country. That's what makes his "black honey" unique. There's also not that much of that kind of honey from farmers who actually own the land.

"Most beekeepers put their bees on other people's land," Posch smiled as he showed off his honey at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto where several businesses were featured at the FedNor-funded Northern Ontario Agri-food Pavilion.

He's been producing honey for 10 years, after being a dairy farmer for "a long time" and seeing his body give out.

"I milked for 25 years and my knees were shot and I had all this cash crop buckwheat on my surplus land for human consumption, so when I sold the cows I just started with honey."

Posch says he's getting a great reaction from fairgoers and explained that, with buckwheat, everybody seems to get a different flavour from it.

"People either really love it or they really hate it," he laughed. "But healthwise, I've got people that hate it, but they buy it anyway for the health benefits."

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