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.

Learning Forgotten Arts

Written by Stephanie on February 24th, 2017.      0 comments

Forgotten Arts-409If you are looking for a special day out with friends, want to learn a new skill or just looking for something different to do then you won't get a better day out than at Forgotten Arts.  Forgotten Arts provides hands-on workshops by gifted artisans on a stunning lifestyle property in Clevedon.  They currently teach candle, soap, knife and cheese making, patch working, felting, sewing, leather work, pyrography, gourd art, hedgerow weaving and making beef jerky, with more courses on the way!  

This week I went on a soap making course at Forgotten Arts, it was my much wanted Christmas present from Martin.  My friend and I had a ball!  We were warmly greeted by owners Maureen and James and offered a cuppa and delicious homemade baking.  The courses are run in the stable which is fully set up with a kitchen, workshop and separate rooms for different classes.  It has a warm, friendly and comfortable ambience and every detail has been thought of, right down to the freshly picked flowers!  The lunch, made by Maureen who is a chef, was superb.  The ploughman's main and chilled tomato soup was delicious and the slice for dessert was delectable. Being gluten free it was so nice to go somewhere that I can eat a lovely meal and not have to worry about it.  I'm looking forward to trying a winter workshop where our food will be cooked on the fireplace!!

Forgotten Arts Soap Making-488-636Liz, the soap making artisan teaching us, was very passionate and informative about her craft. She made us feel relaxed and it seemed like we had known her for years within a short period of time. Everything was well organised and explained and it was loads of fun making the soaps and discussing different ways we could make them.  We then looked at the different ways of decorating the soaps for gifts.

We came away with two batches of soaps to cure, a folder full of information, tips and recipes, a mould and one of Liz's pre-made soaps.  It felt like Christmas!

Thanks so much James, Maureen and Liz for a wonderful day out and exciting new skills to hone.  I'm looking forward to my next course and seeing you all again! 

Check out Forgotten Arts Website 
Like Forgotten Arts Facebook Page


What's So Special About Kirikiriroa Honey?

Written by Stephanie on February 19th, 2017.      0 comments

Unblended honeys are not new, but the fact that Sweetree’s honeys are not based on a single flower source but the local area and season make our approach unique. For this reason we choose our sites carefully and we never mix honey from different locations. Each apiary location has its own special nuance and character and this is reflected in the honey when you come to taste it.

Sweetree Kirikiriroa is certainly no exception!  This honey came about when we approached the Hamilton City Council in early 2014, looking for iconic Hamilton locations to place some of our hives. After discussions with staff, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum were identified as ideal locations for the bees to do their business.

We have 45 hives in these Hamilton City sites and we love that we can produce a honey that reflects the flora and places of Hamilton. The three locations we’ve chosen are some of our most-loved and beautiful sites, and this enhances their reputation and the fantastic work staff is doing there.

Martin-with-Dep-MayorAt the Hamilton Farmers Market, many locals tell us they don’t have any bees in their gardens and they would be very keen to have some. In the height of summer we now add 1,500,000 bees into the city, each with a 5km flight range, and we are very pleased to be working with Council to make some contribution to improving biodiversity and nature in the city.

Julie Hardaker, the city’s previous Mayor, said the partnership with Sweetree Honey emphasis Council’s commitment to protecting the city’s natural environment, while promoting public-private partnerships. “Hamilton is known for its green spaces and this is a great match. Bees pollinate an estimated 70 per cent of our food crops, so gardeners near these three locations will benefit as well,” Mayor Hardaker says.

Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley says the hives are a welcome addition to the Zoo’s biodiversity. They are proud to be part of a combined effort with Hamilton Gardens and Taitua Arboretum to produce a quality product for people to buy, and the sweet treat is also given to the zoo’s honey-eating birds such as the tui as well as primates.

When Martin dropped the zoo beehives into their site adjacent to the giraffe enclosure at 6:30am.  It was very quiet and also a little surreal to see seven long necks towering above the foliage and 14 large eyes staring at him stock still and watching his every move!  That's a first in beekeeping for him!

Sweetree Kirikiriroa honey won silver at the National Beekeepers Honey Competition in 2015!  Unfortunately we didn't have it packed out in time for the 2016 competition.  Cross fingers it will be for this years!

Get a taste of the Hamilton City and try pairing it with different food and in different recipes.  

Last year we paired out honeys with Meyer Cheese and Good George Beers made in the Waikato.  The Kirikiriroa honey works beautifully with Meyer's Garlic and Chives cheese and Good George IPA.  

You might like to try this Creme Brûlée recipe made for us by a local chef using Kirirkiriroa honey. 

Purchase our Kirikiriroa honey here!


Check out the great locations to visit within Hamilton City


OSOF Sustainable Me Challenge!

Written by Stephanie on February 12th, 2017.      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 and look at alternative energy uses.  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, we use paper bags instead of plastic at the markets and we are currently investigating compostable pouches for our bee pollen.  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 supermarket plastic bags) 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 stared out small and now many of those behaviours that I found hard are now automatic.

New Challenge!

I've recently come across a new challenge which I'm keen to try.  It's called the '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.  January's challenge was to stay away from one use plastic and styrofoam when eating out. The current February challenge is to drive less, this also coincides with Aotearoa Bike Challenge.  Driving less could be interesting for us considering we live on a busy rural road!  But I'm keen to think outside the square, one way I could drive less is to share with the neighbours in getting our kids to and from school.

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!

Read more about the Sustainable Me Challenge
Find out about the January Challenge
Find out about the February Challenge

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!

Read our blog to see what’s happening

Read our blog to keep up to date with what we are up to!
Find out more

What do our customers say?

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