The Ballot-Flurin honey-farm was born in the heart of the Pyrenees, in south-western France, set in beautiful countryside that is full of life and proud of its traditions, a place where bees can be happy.
Apiculture DOUCE® (Gentle Beekeeping) is the result of 30 years of research. It is governed by an innovative guideline that aims to create top-quality raw and organic products in a way that cares for bees, our world and its inhabitants.
Recognized in France and abroad, Apiculture DOUCE® is much more than a simple label.
Respecting our natural environment. Apiculture Douce® is a holistic approach to beekeeping. Its philosophy and practice is formed from a modern ecological understanding, based on a deep-seated conviction: if the natural world flourishes, so too will humanity. Our bee-sourced materials are healthy and in plentiful supply because our bees are in good health. The welfare of bees lies at the heart of our ambitious vision for our fabrications and our environment.
Understanding the language of bees. The language of bees is the very heart and soul of Apiculture DOUCE®. All our beekeepers are trained in bee psychology and have a comprehensive set of techniques revolving around relaxation, meditation and observation that facilitate communication with the inhabitants of the beehive, in the same manner as other animal ‘whisperers’. Bees have been around for 100 million years and are blessed with great collective intelligence and sophisticated communication skills. They are very sensitive to contact with humans. We are the only honey house to recognize the importance of the emotional connection that the beekeeper has with the hive: traditional techniques of relaxation and meditation including Reiki are employed to induce a specific mental state in the beekeeper that elevates the ability to listen to the bees. For example, we form the request to harvest in our mind before approaching the hive, asking for the its consent before we take from it. It is common knowledge that an animal’s emotional state will have an impact on anything they offer to us, be it meat or milk. The same concept applies to bees, which are very sensitive to human beings’ moods and mental states.
Biodynamic harvesting. Apiculture DOUCE® takes solar, lunar and cosmic cycles into account in the management of the hives and in deciding when exactly the beekeeper will perform their harvest. This respects the natural laws of the world and universe, allowing us to truly act harmoniously with our bees.
If we want to maintain our collective health and happiness, we will have to likewise protect and nurture our bees, the natural world and society as a whole.
Protecting the bees’ food resources. Pristine vegetation, untouched by chemical products purposefully or accidently, makes for quality harvests and more disease-resistant, healthier colonies. Bees pollinate plants, which in return provide them with food. They play a critical part in promoting and protecting the biodiversity of any region they inhabit. This is why we choose the locations for our bee-hives with great care and also why we need to protect local ecosystems by growing plants beneficial for honey-making (Heather, Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, Hawthorn, Marjoram, etc).
Conserving honey plant diversity. Our "Ferme d'abeilles" (Bee Farm) program promotes the planting of melliferous plants and the installation of beehives on organic farmland.
Some recommended melliferous plants
Flowers: Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) -Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare) - Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) - Alsike Clover (Trifolium hybridum) - Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) - White Clover (Trifolium repens) -Egyptian Clover (Trifolium alexandrinum) -Persian Clover (Trifolium resupinatum) - Bokhara Clover (Melilotus alba) - Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) -Garden Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) - Bird’s Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) - Black Medic (Medicago lupulina) - Lucerne (Medicago sativa) - Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) - Borage (Borago officinalis) - Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) - Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) - White Mustard (Sinapis alba) - Broad Bean (Vicia faba) - Radish (Raphanus sativus) - Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris) -Brown Knapweed (Centaurea jacea) - Yarrow (Achillea)
Wet Biome Shrubs & Trees: Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) - Goat Willow (Salix caprea) - Common Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) - Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) -Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) -Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) - Field Maple (Acer campestris) - Elder (Sambucus nigra) -Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
Dry Biome Shrubs & Trees: Wild Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) - Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus) - Plum (Prunus domestica) - Common Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) - Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) - Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) -Small-leaved Lime (Tilia cordata) - Hawthorn (Crateagus) - Common Medlar (Mespilus germanica) - Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana) - Dog Rose (Rosa canina) - Apple and European Pear trees (Malus pumila and Pyrus communis) - Field Maple (Acer campestre) - Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa) - Holly (Ilex aquifolium) - Whitebeam (sorbus aucuparia)