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.


New Season Honey Extraction

Written by Stephanie on February 14th, 2018.      0 comments

The extraction of our first honey harvest for the season has started!  Have you ever wondered how honey gets from the hive into a liquid form?

The boxes of honey come in from the hives and the wax cappings are cut off the outside of each frame to allow the honey to flow out.  Manuka honey frames are need to be pricked because the honey is a lot thicker and jelly like, therefore harder to flow out of the cells without a little help.  The frames go into a spinner and all the honey is spun out and then coarsely filtered.  The beeswax is separated and the honey is then drummed off ready to be packed into jars.

frames
Marokopa Spring honey frames wanting for extraction

spinner
Honey frames in extractor ready to be spun

Fast-spin
Honey frames having honey spun out of them
Topics: Bee Facts Products
 

Honey Harvest has started!

Written by Stephanie on February 4th, 2018.      0 comments

It's that time of year again - honey harvesting!  If you didn't already know honey collection is seasonal.  Bees start to collect honey in spring time and then through to the end of summer.  We harvest Ohui honey first (around mid Jan) then not long after that Marokopa Spring (late Jan, early Feb). The other honeys are harvested later in March.  

 We've just spent this weekend harvesting Marokopa Spring honey.  The season hasn't great but we've harvested a bit more Marokopa Spring than we did last year so that's good.  Both Ohui and Marokopa Spring honeys will now be extracted and we'll be packing Marokopa Spring first, so it should be available for sale by early March.
 
Spring-Harvest-Busy-Bees              Spring-Harvest-Martin-with-frame 
Both the bees and Martin are working hard in the heat of summer
 
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Frames of honey  



Spring-Harvest-Trailer-with-boxes
Boxes of Marokopa Spring off for extraction
Topics: , Bee Facts , Products
 

What is the White Film on Beeswax Products?

Written by Stephanie on September 14th, 2017.      0 comments

Bloom-523-718Have you ever noticed a white film over beeswax products?  It's called a 'boom'.  It develops over time due to cold air crystallizing the beeswax oils. It disappears when the wax is put into the sun for a very short time.  If it is a sunny but cold day then wait until the air gets warmer to use the heat of the sun rays or carefully warm with a hairdryer, fan heater, etc. They will then be completely back to normal! 
 

Check out our beeswax products

Topics: , Products
 

Alleviate Seasonal Allergies

Written by Stephanie on August 15th, 2017.      0 comments

sneezeSpring is just around the corner or maybe it's already here!  I was at the pharmacy the other day and the pharmacist thinks that allergies have started already and by looking at the pollen starting to be collected in the hives I think she's right.

Seasonal allergies can be a nightmare - sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat, coughing, itchy nose, blocked/runny nose or worse.  During this time many people stock up on tissues and run to the chemist to grab antihistamine, sometimes even antihistamine isn't enough.  It's no fun at all!

In spring hay fever can be triggered by tree and grass pollen.  There are two types of flower pollen. One is very light and is easily airborne, this light pollen causes allergies. The second pollen is heavier, it is collected by bees and made into bee pollen.

Did you know that research indicates that if you take small amounts of bee pollen from your local area a few months before the hay fever season your body may become desensitised to the air borne pollens?  It works like a vaccination does against childhood diseases. Desensitisation is based on the idea that the taking of the bee pollen will cause the body to produce antibodies that will cancel out the effects of the air born pollen when the person is exposed to it again.  See below this blog for more details on research in the area.

Many of our customers have commented that their allergies have lessened when either taking Sweetree Bee Pollen or Honey.  Our honey is not finely filtered and therefore retain a high pollen count.  So to help with your hay fever symptoms try either taking bee pollen every day or raw honey from your local area. Sweetree produces bee pollen in the Horsham Downs area and honey from Hamilton City, Horsham Downs, Ngaurwahia and Marokopa (King Country) areas.

If you feel you need something more to protect you against allergies see a health professional.  You may want to see your doctor, pharmacy, herbalist, Chinese medicine therapist, Naturopath, etc. 

Breathe easy this spring!

Read more about bee pollen and check out the Research on its benefits 


Purchase Sweetree bee pollen


lying-in-grass
Topics: , Health Articles , Products
 

Take Bee Pollen to Build Your Immunity

Written by Stephanie on July 15th, 2017.      0 comments


Do you often succumb to the winter bugs?  Does your immunity need a little boost?  Try bee pollen!  It is naturally rich in protein and contains virtually every known vitamin, 28 minerals, plus numerous active enzymes and fatty acids.  It is one of nature’s best superfoods, providing a sustainable source of energy for a healthy balanced life. 

Pollen-heartRegular consumption of bee pollen aids your general health and well-being. Just some of the reported benefits of Sweetree bee pollen are sustained energy, enhanced immunity, reduced stress, relief of inflammation, more rested sleep and better skin condition.

Studies show that the white blood cell count is increased in those taking bee pollen. Gamma globulins are the “stuff” antibodies are made of, and antibodies are our only internal defense against viruses. White blood cells of various types consume harmful bacteria and other foreign matter that enters the blood or lymph stream. In short, pollen appears to boost our immune system protection.

 

Read more about Sweetree Bee Pollen
See what our customers think of Sweetree Bee Pollen

Purchase Sweetree Bee Pollen

Topics: , Products
 

Can You Take NZ Honey into Australia?

Written by Stephanie on June 20th, 2017.      0 comments

2-honey-boxWe often get asked if honey can be taken into Australia.  I've contacted Customs in Australia and here is the low down:

Honey is permitted into Australia and should be packed in checked luggage, not hand luggage. It must be declared for inspection on arrival. The import limit is 10 litres/10 kilograms or less for most Australian states and territories.

If travelling to Western Australia (Perth and all other WA ports) please let them know that stricter conditions apply. Honey or honey product is allowed into WA without an import permit as a liquid in individually packaged units with a capacity of 150 millimetres or less.
 

Check out our wonderful Waikato, New Zealand honey!




 
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Sweetree Hakarimata Honey Back in Stock!

Written by Stephanie on May 27th, 2017.      0 comments

Hakarimata-main-946Finally our popular Hakarimata honey is back in stock!  It is truly a delicious honey, according to Annabelle White (Chef, Author and TV personality) "Hakarimata is super - intense, full flavoured and quite delicious".

Sweetree's Hakarimata honey is collected from the Hakarimata Range which forms part of the western rampart of the Waikato Basin.  Nestled in the foothills, our bees feast themselves on the copious sources of nectar from native flowers above and pasture flowers below.  This devine honey won Bronze in 2014, Gold in 2013 and Silver in 2012 in the 'Beekeepers Special Reserve' honey competition with the National Beekeepers Association Honey Show. We will enter it again this year for the first time in a few years.
 

Purchase Hakarimata honey here


Then try making Sweetree Honey Oats Cakes with Hakarimata honey.
Topics: , Products
 

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!


Kirikiriroa-and-cheese
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

Topics: , About Sweetree, Products
 

Book Review: 100 Years of Claude Stratford

Written by Stephanie on May 27th, 2016.      0 comments

100 Years of Claude Stratford is a remarkable story of the diverse experiences, challenges and trumpets of Claude Stratford, founder of Comvita.  If you are starting or building a business, are a beekeeper, interesting in nature's healing properties, need some inspiration or just want to read a real story about a real person with dogged determination - this is your book!

Claude Stratford, was a walking Claude Stratfordadvertisement for natural bee products, with his daily health regimen consisting of bee pollen, manuka honey, olive leaf extract, multi-vitamins and Omega 3 capsules.

No one would have predicted that Claude Stratford would reach the milestone of 100+ years. Claude was a sickly child and suffered from chronic health problems well into adulthood.  He sought first to heal himself and then others, with his developing knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants and bee products.  This quest became his life passion, ultimately gaining expression in the company he founded at the age of 63 years old: Comvita Limited.

Beekeeping has been a constant in Claude's long career.  He started keeping bees at 11 years old, when he left school.  During his teenage years he ran a small commercial beekeeping business in Richmond, along with a prize-winning poultry farm.  He would cross the Cook Strait to sell his honey in Wellington. He then started an apiary businesses in the Waikato and the Peria Valley in Northland.  It wasn't until he was 64 years old, when he moved to the Bay of Plenty to be closer to his children, that he saw an opportunity to set up a honey and pollen-inspired health product business, Comvita.  It was meant to be his modest retirement venture, but today the NZX-listed business is turning over more than $80 million a year and has 250 staff in New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Europe, Asia and the United States. "It was really a hobby that just simply took off. It's gone beyond my expectations."

Mr Stratford retired in 1992, at 82, but continued to run a small pollen processing firm  until he was in his mid-90s – when he was a finalist for a Bay of Plenty Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

"I didn't actually know what it was to be well until my mid-30s. Around the ages 24 to 26 I suffered a lot of ill-health – I was just generally run-down – and when I was about 26 I read a book on pollen remedies by Marjorie McCormick called The Golden Pollen. I started producing and consuming bee pollen at that stage and I've been taking it for the last 80 years."

During his long career he has worked on Auckland's waterfront, driving taxis, selling insurance, growing comfrey, milling flour and working for Healtheries.  He is a man of amazing great tenacity and determination.  He has been married five times and had many personal tragedies. His first wife and fourth baby died during child birth, and has lost two adult daughters.  Many of his early business ventures failed and he just walked away and started all over again from scratch. 

He says it's been a mix of hard work, dogged determination, optimism and his Christian faith that's seen him through.  What an inspiration! 

Information for this blog post was sourced from www.newzealand.com

Read more or purchase '100 Years of Claude Stratford'
Topics: , Health Articles, Products
 

Relax in a Decadent Bath!

Written by Stephanie on April 22nd, 2016.      0 comments

dried-herbs-and-flowersHow often to you stop and take a nice relaxing bath?  If you are like me, not often enough!  Taking a bath has great benefits for our our health such as improving blood circulation, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure, relieving coughs and colds and reducing headaches, let alone making us feel good.

I recently came across Blue Earth Bath Tea Bags, they are packed with healing herbs & essential oils to turn your ordinary bath time into a decadent treat.  All you need to do is run a hot bath, place the giant tea bag in your bath to steep.  Allow your bath to 'brew' until the herbs are well infused (approx. 5 minutes).  Remove the tea bag.  When your bath is the right temperature hop in, enjoy & relax.

There are two varieties of bath tea bags:

  • The relaxation tea bag is filled with lavender flowers, peppermint leaf, valerian root, passionflower, lemon balm & essential oil of lavender.  This will help soothe skin, relieve tensions from the day and leave you feeling completely relaxed.  
  • The invigorating tea bag is filled with peppermint leaf, lemongrass, orange slices, thyme & essential oil of sweet orange.  This will transform your bath into a revitalising and invigorating experience.  It's an excellent pick me up before going out!

I alway like to add some epsom salts to the bath as well, this has many surprising health benefits. Just some of these are natural detoxification, reduces swelling, relieves aches and pains, reduces muscle cramping (increasing magnesium in our bodies) and aids relaxation and sleep.  You can purchase epsom salts from this website.

To add to the decadent environment burn some beeswax candles around the bath.  Burning beeswax produces negative ions that circulate in the room and attract pollutants and clean the air, as well as help produce a more restful sleep.  

Purchase the 
relaxation and  invigorating bath tea bags from our website, no only are they great to add to your bath but make a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

 
Bath-with-candles
Topics: , Products
 

Rolled Beeswax Candle Kits

Written by Stephanie on April 15th, 2016.      0 comments

Beeswax-kit-888Did you know that burning beeswax produces negative ions that circulate in the room and attract pollutants and clean your air?  Many people report that burning a beeswax candle in your bedroom 30 minutes before falling asleep produces a more restful sleep.

Now you can make your very own candles!  Rolling your own beeswax candles is lots of fun, rewarding and an easy craft.  
This kit will make 8-12 beeswax candles, with a mix of large and small, straight-sided or tapered candles.  It's a great activity for the kids over the school holidays and makes wonderful gifts (the kit or the finished candles).
 

The kit includes:

  • 4 large sheets of coloured beeswax sheets (mixed colours)
  • 4 smaller sheets of coloured beeswax sheets (mixed colours)
  • wick for 12 candles
  • instructions

Purchase a rolled beeswax candle making kit here.

 

Here's some design ideas but look at more on our Pinterest board


candles-votive    candles-colours   candle-sushi    Candle-Xmas
 
Topics: , Products
 

We Love Tui Balms

Written by Stephanie on April 2nd, 2016.      0 comments

Bee Balm with Baby​Tui Balmes is a Co-operative situated in Golden Bay.  Tui started in 1984 by producing the original Bee Balm and has built up vast experience and expertise in working with nature to produce a natural healing & skin care range that is gentle, effective and altogether natural.  They have a long history of working with natural products and massage therapists, and we know you'll enjoy using these unique balms on yourself and your family, as we do.
 
All their products are based on organic NZ beeswax, with varying carrier oils, vitamin E and essential oils. They do not contain preservatives, emulisfiers, colouring, stabilizers, parabins or chemical additives.  All ingredients used in Tui Balms products are either whole substances occurring in nature or they are directly extracted from a whole natural source.
 
We love what Tui Balmes stand for ... all natural ingredients and all the profits that are not used to develop the business are donated to registered charitable trusts.  The range of charities receiving Tui's donations has been extensive and about 12 charities a year benefit from their turnover.

Check out the range of Tui Balm's in our online store.
 
Topics: , Products
 

Book Review: Honey, Nature's Golden Healer

Written by Stephanie on December 4th, 2015.      0 comments

goldenbookDrawing on her background in the biological sciences, Gloria Havenhand illustrates the many ailments that honey can help alleviate, including IBS and gastric ulcers, and argues it is essential for healthy living - boosting the immune system and helping prevent certain diseases. But honey is also a delicious treat and Gloria claims we should eat it daily, using it as an alternative natural sweetener to sugar. She also tackles other bee products, discussing how propolis, a sticky resin produced by bees when making their hive, can help relieve long-term sufferers of skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, and how pollen can be used by athletes to boost energy and performance. This informative and illuminating book will show us all the links between honey and good health and why protecting the honey bee is important not only for its own survival, but for our own longevity.

We have a copy of this book and I love it!  It has lots of interesting information and wonderful photos.  I highly recommend it!
 

Purchase Honey - Nature's Golden Healer book

Topics: , Products
 

We Love The LifeFood Range

Written by Stephanie on November 20th, 2015.      0 comments

LifeFood CacaoLifeFood's is a New Zealand business producing certified organic superfoods.  We love their range!  They source the highest quality nutrient rich amazing superfoods from around the globe.  They are very passionate about quality and making sure the products are 100% organic and have a very rigorous process of screening suppliers and growers to ensure they only source the best products possible.

For example they have tested over 20 cacao suppliers around the world and of these 18 of them failed the testing as they were either not actually raw at all, or they were not organic, or worse not heirloom.  After years of research they are confident that they have the cleanest, purest form of 100% raw organic cacao on the planet!  The cacao is an heirloom variety of cacao that is wild harvested by locals in Ecuador on donkey back straight out of the rain forest. This is just one example of how good the quality of their products truly are!!

They're passionate about putting quality ethical foods before profit and ensure they don't just sell products but provide healthy foods that will help their customers. 

Their philosophy is similar to ours - they are passionate about health and believe that true health comes from eating a diet that is nutrient dense from food that has had minimal processing, to ensure it retains its goodness. 

They (as well as us) believe that in order to have optimum health, a diet that has an abundance of raw super foods is essential, as it's a sure fire way to boost your immune system and to give you an abundance of energy. It's amazing how much difference eating 'real food' makes to a persons general well being.

We love LifeFoods range so much we decided to sell it on our website.  Check out the LifeFood range here.


 
Topics: , Products
 

Book Review: What's Cooking?

Written by Stephanie on November 13th, 2015.      0 comments

What's-Cooking-cookbookThis cookbook is for kids who want to cook, bake or make something in the kitchen without any help from Mum or Dad.  The book was created by Hamilton mum & daughter, Claudia & Isa Aalderink.

All the recipes are made and tested by 11 year old Isa and photos were captured by Claudia, a talented photographer.  The instructions are easy to follow, along with very helpful step by step photos.  You'll love the photography!  The recipes are all easy to make without any electrical mixing equipment or microwave!  Sometimes you just need some elbow grease and effort to make something great and share with our family and friends.  The recipes use kitchen equipment that most people already have.  In the back of the book is a list of all the tools that are used.  You will also find a list with measures.

The recipes cover breakfast, lunch, snacks, baking and desserts!  Just some of the many recipes are buttermilk scones, pizza scrolls, savoury muffins, cheese twists, ginger kisses, truffles and apple crumble.  Just imagine having these lovingly prepared by your child!

Isa and Claudia challenge you to have an amazing time in the kitchen and make some great recipes on your own.  Of course you can add your own favourites to each recipe if you like.  Ask the grocery shopper in your family to help you with the shopping list and you are ready to go!

This attractive and easy to use kids cookbook would make a great Christmas present for that budding young chef!
 

Purchase 'What's Cooking?' kids cookbook

Topics: , Products
 
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