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® is the product of 30 years of research. It is governed by an innovative charter that aims to create top-quality 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 just an additional quality assurance label guaranteeing the excellence of our products.
Respecting our natural environment. Apiculture Douce® is a holistic approach to bee-keeping. Its thinking is moulded by the modern ecosystem approach, based on a deep-seated conviction: if the natural world flourishes, so too will humanity. Our honey and apiculture products 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 organic products and the 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 whole raft of techniques revolving around relaxation, meditation and observation that facilitate communication with the inhabitants of the beehive, just like other specialists who ‘whisper’ to horses or wolves. 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 farm to recognize the importance of the emotional connection that the beekeeper has with the hive: oriental techniques of relaxation and meditation including Reiki are employed to induce a specific mental state in the beekeeper that stresses the importance of listening to the bees. For example, we form a question in our head, asking for the hive’s consent before we harvest the honey... Everybody knows that an animal’s emotional state, that of a cow for example, will have an impact on the quality of their milk. The same 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 bee colony and in deciding when exactly the beekeeper will harvest the hive.
If we want to maintain our health and our looks, we will have to likewise protect and nurture our bees, the natural world and society as a whole.
Protecting the bees’ food resources. Luxuriant vegetation untouched by chemical products 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 biodiversity. This is why we choose the locations for our bee-hives with great care and also why we need to protect local ecosystems by planting honey plants (Heather, Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, Hawthorn, Marjoram...).
Conserving honey plant diversity. Our "Ferme d'abeilles" (bee farm) program promotes the planting of melliferous plants and the installation of beehives on farmland.
Some recommended melliferous plants
Melliferous 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)
Melliferous shrubs and trees that grow in damp habitats: 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)
Melliferous shrubs and trees that grow in dry habitats: 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)