Russia’s organic honey– and the country has several thousands of melliferous plants – are highly valued abroad. Last year, it exported over 3,600 tons of honey, two thirds of which went to China. Russian honey exports has surged 36-fold since 2010, and demand for the product continues growing, even though China is among the world’s leading honey producers.
Russia made it to the world’s top five honey producers thanks to the Volga, Central and Siberian federal districts, which account for almost 70% of the country’s honey output. The biggest producers are the Republic of Bashkortostan, Primorye and the Altay territory.
Altay is the biggest producer of buckwheat. Buckwheat honey was the first honey-exporting trend back in the czarist Russia.
Other popular varieties are cornflower and garden angelica honey. The value of honey depends on it being mono- or polyfloral. Buckwheat honey is cheaper, while mixed-herb, taiga and alpine varieties are more expensive. Altay beekepers were the first in Russia to prove the unique qualities of their honey made of endemic medicinal plants.
Experts believe that regional Russian brands will help to secure the high status of honey in the global market, especially the world’s most expensive wild honey, the product of wild-honey farming. Bashkortostan is now the only place in the world where this ancient skill is still known.
The mountainous forests of Bashkortostan hold one third of the world’s and half of Russia’s linden reserves. Linden is one of the world’s main melliferous plants, producing valuable honey varieties. Naturally, it is two-three times more expensive than buckwheat or sunflower honey.
Mikhail Kosyrev, director of the Shulgan Tash state natural biosphere reserve, says that few people now know the skill of wild-honey farming. It is hand-drained, has a dark brown color, is opaque and has a high content of wax, bee-bread and bee pollen. It has the highest price due to the excellent taste and curative properties. The output of such honey in Bashkorstostan does not exceed 4 tons a year.
Mature northern honey varieties are also considered to be of the highest quality. They have the highest content of diastase, a ferment produced by bees. The so-called diastase number helps to understand whether honey is natural.