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.

Simon Gault Loves Our Honey!

Written by Stephanie on March 20th, 2013.      0 comments

Simon Gault, Chef, TV personality and author was giving a cooking demonstration at Westfield Chartwell about a year ago.  A friend suggested I drop some of our honey to him to try.  So packed up a couple of honeys with a note explaining about us and our honeys and dropped it to Simon's assistant after the demonstration.  I felt a bit nervous.

Would you believe that a photo of our 'Four Brothers Reserve' honey is now photographed in Simon's new cookbook 'Homemade'!!!!  We were blown away! 

Simon had 'A Night with Simon Gault' in Hamilton recently so I got him to sign the page in my book.  He wrote - 'Love Your Honey!'.

So if you have a copy of the book have a look at page 228 and if you don't have a copy get one.  It is great cookbook, they are all recipes that he and he family (including his parents) use at home.  So they are not hard and use ingredients that you probably already have.  You can purchase the book from his website - Sous Chef

I got a copy for Mum for her birthday and she is really enjoying it.

Beehive Update - March 2013

Written by Martin on March 6th, 2013.      2 comments

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun! The season is almost over and many beekeepers will be very happy with their honey crop this year. The hot dry weather has been great for the bees with a lot of honey collected and good conditions for drawing out wax on frames.  Did you notice the white blooms of the native Heketara tree flowering in spring? The last time I saw flowering similar to that was about 5 years ago – when we had the last drought! This has been noticed before by beekeepers , when the Heketara flowers in spring, watch out you may be in for a drought, or at least a good long dry summer. 

Marokopa Station
MarokopaAfter a slow start, the bees really took off. We harvested the Spring crop in late December, mostly Kamahi, just in time before the Manuka started flowering. It was even later than normal this time, mid December is generally when it flowers. Masses of flowering this year which finished in late January.  There was such a strong flow of honey this year, that I don’t think the bees even noticed us taking off the honey, they were too busy getting the next load! We undertook our third harvest in mid March, the summer crop, (thistle, clover, rata). The beehives now have entrance reducers on to keep the wasps out and all have varroa strips, because mite levels are now high.

Four Brothers Reserve
This farm has changed hands and is now owned by a native forest restoration society. The pasture has been left to do its own thing and there were flowers and long grass everywhere. Despite this the bees didn’t do quite as well as we hoped, but we did get a sufficient crop to allow us to do a pack.
I was out with our eldest boy at this site on a hot windy day in January with a very high pollen count. He went for a wander through the grass while I looked at the bees. Next thing he was coming back with tears streaming down his checks and welts coming up on his skin. Then he started coughing and gasping for breath – yes he had an anaphylactic reaction to the grass pollen. Luckily it wasn’t too bad and we got him some treatment, but now he carries an Anapen!

Hakarimata Range
We hit seven stories high on some of the hives at this site! Packed with bees and honey and a very good crop taken off. We are down to the last two jars of last years Hakarimata honey, so the sooner we get this extracted the better!

We did manage to get a crop of manuka honey from this apiary site – fantastic honey and while the crop was small we have come up with a great way to eat it! Look out for this honey at the Farmer’s Market in Hamilton and give it a try.

Our new trial site, the hot dry weather has been very tough on this farm and flowering finished early. The nectar flow has been a stop/start affair and the bees have generally been a bit below par. However, that’s what happens when you try a new site and it takes a while to understand the nuances of the area. The site has masses of lupins and the bees draw huge amounts of brightly coloured pollen from the flowers. The frames are full of pollen. We have harvested a small quantity of honey and what we have tasted has been very different. A salty, gritty taste – sort of like the sea! And it tastes great, so we will make it available and see what everyone thinks.

Horsham Downs
Our home apiary site and where we collect our bee pollen. This has been a tough year for collecting bee pollen in the Waikato – the wet spring meant that pollen collection was below average and then the bees became very focused on collecting honey in summer! Here’s hoping that Spring 2013 treats us kindly!

Bee Sweet and Reuse Photo Competition!

Written by Stephanie on March 1st, 2013.      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."

Lately I've been reading on Facebook how our customers reuse their Sweetree honey jars.  They are used for jams, chutneys, sauces and for storing items. What do you use empty Sweetree jars for?

We would love to see what people do with them so we have decided to start a photo competition.  Post a photo on our Facebook page of a Sweetree Honey jar being used creatively and you could be in to win!   If you don't have Facebook just email to us at and we'll pop it up for you.

Please note the photos are not being judged on photographic ability but rather the original use of one of our empty honey jars!

Please vote for your favourite photos by liking them on Facebook and ask your friends to vote too!

The best photo at the end of May wins a Sweetree Honey gift box with the latest season's honeys plus the latest Good Magazine and three back issues of the NZ Farmer Lifestyle Magazine - worth a total of $60!

Here's some ideas from our photographer.  Don't worry Claudia isn't allowed to enter!

bead-in-jar                pumice-in-jar

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