The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.


Sustainable Me April Challenge

Written by Stephanie on April 1st, 2021.      0 comments

A new month, a new challenge with 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge'. Each month this year we will be challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. It gives us the challenge to try something new for the month and decide if we want to adopt it more in our lives.

This month's challenge takes place in our kitchens, to preserve some fresh, local produce for the depths of winter.  What a great idea!  Not only are you saving on packaging you're ensuring there's no wastage.  And what a great way to reuse your Sweetree honey jars!

 

Here's What They Suggest:

Beginner: Just freeze something. This is the easiest way to preserve fresh foods. Make a basic freezer jam, or simply slice up some plums and pears and stash them away for a winter’s morning.

Intermediate: Get preserving! Try out some pickles or jam through the links provided above and below.  Use your Sweetree honey jars!

Advanced: Go crazy in the kitchen with jams, chutneys, sauces, kimchi and soups. How much can you preserve?


This challenge works in perfectly with Sweetree's 'Bee Sweet and Reuse' photo competition!  Email us or share a photo on our Facebook page or Instagram page of glass jars (not just Sweetree jars) being used creatively and you could be in to win!  Show us your storage ideas, preserves, anything and be in to win a spot prize of plastic free goodies!
 

Read more about the Sustainable Me Challenge and Why We Love It

 

Read more on the Sustainable Me website


Preserves
 
 

'Bee Sweet and Reuse' Photo Competition!

Written by Stephanie on April 1st, 2021.      0 comments

When we were deciding how to package our honey it had to be glass.  It is so much more healthier, attractive and environmental friendly.  I came across this on Glass for Life facebook page which sums it up quite well - "People trust glass more than any other packaging material to protect the flavor and freshness of their food and drink. And for good reason. Glass is safe and healthy, pure and virtually inert. It’s made of natural ingredients—sand, limestone and soda ash. Glass is 100% recyclable and highly sustainable— unlike most other packaging materials, it can be recycled over and over. And glass says quality without even trying. Glass is life, for all the right reasons."

Lots of our customers reuse our honey jars for jams, chutneys, sauces and for storing items.  Any jars we get back we make jam and give back to our local food bank.  My pantry is full of glass jars for nuts, seeds, lentils, etc.  What do you use empty glass jars for?
 

Competition Time!


We would love to see what people do with used glass jars so we have decided to run our photo competition again.  Email us or share a photo on our Facebook page or Instagram page of glass jars (not just Sweetree jars) being used creatively and you could be in to win!  Show us your storage ideas, preserves, anything and be in to win a spot prize of plastic free goodies!

Here's some ideas from our photographer, Claudia Aalderink who owns The Mandarin Tree art and concept store in Gordonton. There are more ideas on our Pinterest page and some coming on our Facebook page over the the next month or so.
 
bead-in-jar                pumice-in-jar
 
Bee-Sweetree-Reuse-Keepsakes  Bee-Sweetree-Reuse-Pencils

 
 

Hamilton Farmers Market Celebrates 15 Years!

Written by Stephanie on March 25th, 2021.      0 comments

Hamilton Farmers Market is celebrating it's 15th birthday this weekend! So come on down and join the festivities! We're open Sunday 8am - 12noon in the Claudelands Events Centre Barn, gate 3 (off Brooklyn Road).  We won't be in our normal spot, we'll be outside so come and say hi before you head into the barn, and be in to win an awesome prize pack!
 

Sweetree's History with The Waikato Farmers Markets


Wow, its hard to believe Sweetree Honey has been a stallholder at the Hamilton Farmers Market for 14 years!  It was in the WinTech carpark back then. We were also regular attendees of the the Cambridge market when it started around that time though, it wasn't part of the Farmers Market at that point but it soon came under the Waikato Farmers Market umbrella.  We did the Hamilton Farmers Market every Sunday and Cambridge Farmers Market fortnightly, for quite some time. 

Unfortunately any early photos we may have are either on a negative or old digital camera somewhere.  Thank goodness technology makes finding photos a lot easier these days!  Here's the earliest photo I could find at the WinTech carpark.  It was a heaving and thriving market.
 
Farmer's market Hamilton (1)

The Hamilton Farmers Market then moved to the Sonning carpark on River Road carpark for a few years where it continued to thrive, then for a short time to the TeRapa Racecourse before moving to its current home in the Barn at Claudelands Events Centre.  We're very lucky to now have an indoor venue, what a treat!  

We've had a lot of fun being part of the Farmers Markets, we've made some great friends in stallholders and customers. We had first contact with some of our land owners of our apiary sites and stockists through the Farmer Markets .  We've had a few gazebos fly up and break in the wind, and enjoyed all sorts of weather.   Stephanie had a stint on the Farmers Market trust about 10 years ago and Martin is currently the chairman. 

We've worked so hard to build our little family business that a few years ago we had to rethink our priorities.  When we first started our boys were four and two years old, Stephanie worked from home and Martin has always had a full-time job on top of Sweetree honey. It became too much with beekeeping and markets in the weekends (including Hamilton, Cambridge, Tamahere, Auckland & Gordonton markets and shows and expos).  We needed to carve out more family time so we now only focus on the Hamilton Farmers Market on the 1st & 3rd week of each month.  Life's still busy, Martin still working full-time on our main income and Stephanie has a 30 hour a week job as well as running Sweetree and taking care of the family (who are getting closer to adulthood).

The thing that we love the most and the thing that keeps bringing us back is our customers. We love to catch up with our regulars and have a little chin wag, or introduce new customers to our honey, and we have had some lovely comments over the years such as;  "this is the best honey I've ever had" or "this reminds of honey when I was kid" or "I love that I can buy honey from a location that brings back good memories for me".  Thanks so much to all our customers for supporting us all these years!

See you at the Hamilton Farmers Market this Sunday!

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2021 Honey Harvest!

Written by Stephanie on March 10th, 2021.      0 comments

It's that time of year when we've been busy harvesting this seasons honeys.  So far we've harvested honey from Four Brothers Reserve, Hakarimata, Ohinewai and our Kirikiriroa (Hamilton City) apiary sites. This weekend will be Horham Downs turn.  We were worried it wasn't going to be a great harvest this year but we have been pleasantly surprised with the volume of honey in the hives.

This season's Kirikiriroa honey is next in the line up to be extracted! This honey includes honey from The Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo, Taitua Aboretum & Claudelands Events Centre.  This is the first ever honey harvest from the Claudelands Events Centre!  And just 100 metres from the Hamilton Farmers Market, where we sell our wonderful honeys every 2nd Sunday (1st & 3rd Sundays of the month).

Purchase local Sweetree honeys here!


H3-Events-Centre-First-Harvest
First ever honey harvest at Claudelands Events Centre

Kirikiriroa-harvest-2021
Kirikiriroa honey frames awaiting extraction


 
 

Sustainable Me March Challenge

Written by Stephanie on March 1st, 2021.      0 comments

With the 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge' each month we are challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health.  This month's challenge takes place in our bathrooms, to reduce our personal care product footprint. The idea it to avoid microplastic and other chemicals in personal products.
 

Here's What They Suggest:


Beginner:
Become an informed consumer. Read the back of your shampoo bottle and other personal care projects. Look for and learn about the chemicals listed above in their various forms. When it’s time to purchase more, choose a brand that is microplastic, paraben, phthalate, formaldehyde and palm oil free. 

Intermediate:
Extend your scrutiny to other bathroom products including ensuring that all your cleaning products are eco-friendly. Lemon, baking soda and vinegar are great as cleaning products – both good for the environment and your wallet! You might also look at your choice of toilet paper and choose a 100% recycled brand.

Advanced:
Go cosmetics free! There are lots of ways to eliminate commercial personal care products from your life. Try washing your hair with baking soda and conditioning with vinegar. Do some research, get creative!

Check out inspirational local websites such as Wendyl's

Read more about the Sustainable Me Challenge and Why We Love It

 

Read more on the Sustainable Me website


This article is included in Twinkl's Eco-Friendly and Sustainability campaign, and is part of their article Some great ideas to be more sustainable in 2021
 
Glass-skincare

 

 

Sweetree Honey, Local Hamilton Honey

Written by Stephanie on February 20th, 2021.      0 comments

Sweetree honey is as local as you can get, we even have beehives at Claudelands Events Centre (150 metres from the Hamilton Farmers Market barn)! Our Kirikiriroa honey comes from the Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum and from this seasons harvest will include nectar from around Claudelands Events Centre.  Our other raw honeys come from surrounding areas of Hamilton such as Four Brothers Reserve, Hakarimata ranges, Horsham Downs and Ohinewai (coming soon).  Every honey has its own unique nuance depending on what is flowering in the area at the time and are finely granulated making them very easy to spread.  

Come and see us at the Hamilton Farmers Market this weekend and have a taste of our honeys.  They are a true taste of the Waikato!
 

Check out our delicious range of honeys

Sweetree-Local-Hamilton-Honeys
 

Rain, Rain, Glorious Rain!

Written by Stephanie on February 15th, 2021.      0 comments

We have really appreciated getting the rain today as its been so dry and many of the flowering grasses have dried up. Much of the summer has been good for our bees however and its been pleasing to see a steady flow of nectar into the hives. We are now starting to harvest the honey from our hives and will be treating for varroa to ensure mite populations are reduced as much as possible. It’s a key time to monitor the health of our hives as its at the end of summer that colonies can suddenly “crash”.
 
Bee-on-Flower-in-Rain-blog-404-10-793
 

Sustainable Me February Challenge

Written by Stephanie on February 1st, 2021.      0 comments

With the 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge' each month we are challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. This month is to drive less.  This can be a difficult one to especially when you live rurally like us.  But let's try something new!

Beginner:
Go car-free at least one day per week. Don’t just decide to stay home once a week, either! Instead, pick a day that you would normally drive, then seek out an alternative that works for you and practice it.

Intermediate:
How about a car-free week? Alternatively, you could go car-free for at least half of the car trips you would normally take that are less than 5km.

Advanced:
Don’t drive for any trips under 5km for the month of February. Or you could try going the entire month without driving or riding in a car. 
 

Read more about the Sustainable Me Challenge and Why We Love It

 

Read more on the Sustainable Me website

 
Busy-Road-cars
 

Sustainable Me January Challenge

Written by Stephanie on January 2nd, 2021.      0 comments

In a recent post I explained 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge'. Each month this year we will be challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. It gives us the challenge to try something new for the month and decide if we want to adopt it more in our lives.  

This months challenge is to stay away from one use plastic and styrofoam when eating out, try one of these:

Beginner:
Stop using single-use straws and cutlery for one month. Don’t just omit eating out this month. Instead, seek out an alternative that works for you and practice it.

Intermediate:
Same as beginner, but add in coffee cup lids and takeaway containers. Some takeaway restaurants will allow you to bring in a reusable container for your food, and be sure to bring along a box or container for leftovers when you go out to eat.

Advanced:
Become an advocate for ditching plastic and talk to your favourite cafes and restaurants about plastic alternatives and offering BYO containers.


Read More: 

 
Takeaway-burger
 

OSOF Sustainable Me Challenge!

Written by Stephanie on January 1st, 2021.      2 comments

You will have probably guessed by now, by reading previous posts, that we are passionate about sustaining our earth for future generations. Martin's full time job is actually in energy management, helping large businesses reduce their energy consumption, looking at alternative energy uses and reducing their carbon footprint. At home and in our honey business we have substantially reduced what we send to the landfill, we avoid over packaging, try to avoid one use plastic, buy bulk, reuse or recycle as much as we can and purchase locally as much as possible. 

All Sweetree honeys are packaged in glass jars, our propolis in glass bottles, our bee pollen is available in glass jars and we have always used paper bags instead of plastic at the markets. We still have lots of work to do but we are getting better!

I believe that if everyone just starts somewhere and does a little bit (e.g. saying no to a straw) it will make a big difference to the future of our earth. It can be really hard to take on new behaviours and even harder with our busy lifestyles these days. I found it easier to start by following a few organised challenges like 'Plastic Free July' and 'Recycle Week', I just started out small and now many of those behaviours that I found hard are now automatic.

 

A Great Challenge!


'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge' is a great way to start! Each month this year we will be challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. It gives us the challenge to try something new for the month and decide if we want to adopt it more in our lives.

OSOF say "Give it a go for one month and see if you like it. If it’s something you can get on board with, great! Adopt it as part of your regular routine. If it’s a behavior that doesn’t work for you, that’s ok. After 12 months and 12 activities, you just might have a few new actions to add to your sustainability portfolio. If possible, rope a couple of friends or family members into participating with you. The more support you have, the more likely you are to keep up with the behaviours for a full month – enough time to decide whether or not it’s something you can take up for the long term."

Good luck and have fun! Let us know how you get on!
 

Check Out the Monthly Challenges so Far:


This article is included in Twinkl's Eco-Friendly and Sustainability campaign, and is part of their article Some great ideas to be more sustainable in 2021

 

OSOF-Branded-167-302-563

 

How to Store Honey Over Summer

Written by Stephanie on December 30th, 2020.      0 comments

With summer officially here you may want to know the best way to store honey now the temperatures are starting to rise. The best place to store honey is in a cupboard or your kitchen pantry. It's usually cooler in a cupboard and will keep the honey out of direct sunlight.  Keeping it in the fridge will crystalise the honey.

If it has been sitting in an area that is too warm the honey can darken and it may start to separate but it's still completely fine to eat.  Honey never goes off, it's be found in Egyptian tombs after centuries and it's still edible.  But to keep the goodness in the honey and to keep its consistency it's best stored between 10 and 20°C.

Just make sure you screw the lid on tight and if you do drip some down the side the jar rinse it in water, or you may have a visit from ants!
 

Purchase our yummy Sweetree honey
 

Sweetree honey range-63


 

 

Closed Over Christmas / New Year

Written by Stephanie on December 20th, 2020.      0 comments

I think we can all do with a little R & R over the holiday season!  We're looking forward to spending time with family and friends.  Sweetree will be closing up from midday 24th Dec until the 4th Jan.

We wish you and your families a very merry and safe Christmas and New Year. 

Dec 22 Closed Over Christmas-164
 

Christmas Gift Ideas

Written by Stephanie on November 30th, 2020.      0 comments

Hard to believe we're nearly at the end of another year!  It really is time to starting thinking of Christmas gifts.  We have a great variety of sustainable gifts to give this Christmas.  Check out the links on the photos below, they include:
  • Award-winning Waikato honey, from iconic Waikato areas
  • Reusable food wraps
  • Honey stick crayons
  • Books on honey and beekeeping
  • 100% natural beeswax candles
  • 10% off - JOCO coffee cups
  • 25% off - produce and bulk bin bags, Ethique solid bars, eco floss, dish scrubs, stainless steel straws
  • 50% of eco toothbrushes

There's gifts everyone!  Gifts to post, gifts to pop in the Santa stocking, secret Santa gifts!
 

Check out the full range in our online store.


Christmas-Discounts-bagsChristmas-Discounts-eithquieChristmas-Discounts-flossChristmas-Discounts-JOCOxams-gift-boxesChristmas-Discounts-SafixChristmas-Discounts-StrawsMerry-Christmas-10-copyChristmas-Discounts-Toothbrushesxams-honey-wrapsChristmas-Discounts-bags1xmas-booksMerry-Christmas-11xmas-honey-sticksxmas-candles

 
 

What's Special About Sweetree Bee Pollen?

Written by Stephanie on November 6th, 2020.      0 comments

Sweetree Bee Pollen is collected from our home apiary site at rural Horsham Downs, near Hamilton.  With abundant nearby flora, Sweetree honey bees gather pollen from a wide range of flowering plants, reflected in the many different colours of pollen.  These colours indicate a highly nutritious bee pollen and we have received many favourable comments from our customers regarding its effectiveness.  We ensure that our bee pollen is kept as fresh as possible, storing no longer than the previous season.

The pollen is collected from the hive and dried in a purpose built drying room at temperatures no higher than would naturally occur in the beehive on a hot summers day, thereby still retaining its natural nutritious properties.

The flavour of the bee pollen will depend on the floral source and each granule has a different flavour.  You will receive a mouthful of many flavours including  sweet, tarty and earthy.  You may find that the colour and taste of each bag of pollen changes as the floral sources vary throughout the season.  For example early seasonal pollen may have more of a tarty flavour and not quite so many of the different coloured pollens.  Having said that, as the season progresses we try to mix the different coloured pollens into the bags so you are getting the best nutrients you can.


Enjoy the benefits of increased energy & enhanced performance with Sweetree Bee Pollen!

Find information on research carried out on bee pollen for certain health aliments and for sport nutrition.


Purchase Bee Pollen

 
Bee-Pollen-Sweetree
 

What's the Buzz About Bee Pollen?

Written by Stephanie on October 27th, 2020.      0 comments

Bee pollen is an incredible natural source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that it has a nutritional composition that surpasses that of virtually any food eaten. Regular consumption of bee pollen aids your general health and well-being. Just some of the benefits reported of our Sweetree Bee Pollen are: Sustained energy, enhanced immunity, reduced stress, relief of inflammation, more rested sleep and better skin condition.

Studies have also shown that taking bee pollen improves prostate conditions, reduces harmful effects of x-rays and results in fewer side effects from radiation treatment.

Bee pollen is often used by athletes to improve strength, endurance, energy and speed.  It is said to help muscles recover more quickly from exercise and to increase mental stamina. Many great athletes have enjoyed its benefits and find it enhances their performance and decreases downtime due to illness.

Read more on bee pollen benefits!
 

How to Eat Sweetree Bee Pollen


Bee pollen is often thought of as a dietary supplement but is much more than that.  It is one of nature’s best super foods.  We recommend you start with a 1/4 teaspoon per day and work your way up to up to a dessertspoon per day (or more if you need it!).  Bee pollen can be added to food, many of our customers sprinkle it on their cereal in the morning.  Some add it to yoghurt, smoothies or ice-cream.
 

Try these ideas:

  • Add bee pollen to a dish of ice cream and hot chocolate sauce
  • Place bee pollen onto a piece of tin foil then take a peeled banana and roll it into the bee pollen and toasted coconut.
  • Add a tablespoon of bee pollen to beef casseroles or beef stir-fries
  • Add bee pollen to salsa, home-made salad dressing and sandwiches
  • Can be sprinkled on your favourite cereal, fruit or yoghurt to provide a tasty and nutritious supplement to your diet
  • You can also spread it on toast with honey.
  • Mix bee pollen, chai seeds and cinnamon together with mashed banana and yoghurt (any flavour) and spread on raisin toast.  Very yummy breakfast.
  • If you are not that fussed on the flavour you can simply take it in a spoon and chase with water or juice.
 

Purchase Sweetree Bee Pollen

 
Bee-Pollen

 

 
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"This honey so delicious!  It taste just like when I was a kid, rather than the supermarket brands"  Anna Bradford, Rotorua
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