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.


Is Sweetree Honey Pasteurised?

Written by Stephanie on April 9th, 2019.      0 comments

Our honey is not heat treated or pasteurised.  You can be confident that Sweetree raw honey has not been damaged by heating or finely filtered.  It still retains the enzymes, antibacterial qualities and high pollen counts naturally occurring in the honey. 
 

Check out our range of raw honeys

 
HoneyRange
 

Feed Bees in Your Garden Over Winter

Written by Stephanie on March 31st, 2019.      0 comments


Now's the time to think about what plants you will have in your garden over the wintertime for bees. Everyone thinks that bees hibernate over the winter time but actually they don't. Bees stop flying when the temperatures drop down to around 10 degree celsius. They stay inside the hive and go into a big huddle to keep as warm as possible, this is called a winter cluster. The queen is kept inside the cluster to keep her warm and safe. The colder the temperature the more compact the cluster becomes. The worker bees create heat by shivering and they also move back and forth between the inner part of the cluster and the outer part. In this way no bee will freeze in very cold climates.

On nice sunny winter days you can see bees flying short distances out of the hive and then quickly returning.  The trouble is that is is often a dearth of flowers for them to forage on over winter, so it's great to have some plants flowering in your garden over the wintertime for them.


Here's a list of flowers you could have in your gardens for bees over the wintertime:

  • coneflowerAconite
  • Rosemary
  • Borage
  • Pineapple sage
  • Lung wort
  • Heather
  • Mahonia 
  • Sedums
  • Rudbeckia
  • Japanese anenomes
  • Primrose
  • Willow
  • Cornflower
  • Wallflower
  • Camellias
  • Helenium
  • Fatsia japonica
  • Strawberry tree
  • Blue Bells
  • Winter-flowering Clematis
  • Winter-flowering honeysuckle
  • Monarda
  • Native hebes
  • Cornelian cherry
  • Winter-flowering cherry trees


For more ideas on planting for bees please check out the Tree For Bees website

Topics: , Bee Friendly
 

Happy with Honey Harvest

Written by Stephanie on March 28th, 2019.      0 comments

Last weekend we completed our harvest of this seasons honey!  Thank goodness it was a lot better than last year and our bees had plenty of surplus honey for us to harvest.  We always make sure we leave plenty of honey for the bees to keep them going over winter and build up over spring.  Our bees made it through the winter very well and were healthy and strong going into this season, with the honey we left them at the end of last season.  It meant we didn't have much variety to sell but we don't think pumping them up with sugar syrup (like may beekeepers do) is good for their health.

It was a good year for Waikato honey so we will have new season Marokopa Spring, Four Brothers Reserve, Hakarimata, Kirikiriroa, and Horsham Downs honey available this year.   We still have some Ohui Manuka and Marokopa Summer from last season and we've already packed this seasons award-winning Marokopa Spring, Four Brothers Reserve will be available next week and Hakarimata the week after that.  We will then be working on packing the Kirikiriroa and Horsham Downs honeys.  
 

Check the online store for your favourite Sweetree honey!

 
Harvest-checking-frames
Martin checking through the honey frames at Horsham Downs before harvesting the honey
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

Sweetree Wins Gold!

Written by Stephanie on March 19th, 2019.      2 comments

2019-Gold-LabelWe entered our Marokopa Spring honey into the 'Outstanding NZ Food Producers Awards' and it's just won GOLD!

We were up against many other products in 'the earth' category such as; honey, spreads, condiments, loaves, crackers, and nuts.  Outstanding NZ Food Producer Award's organiser Kathie Bartley says “This was a great result for Sweetree, we had some awesome honey products this year.”  We're proud that Waikato honey is up there on top!  Waikato's pasture and bush, and of course our bees are pretty special!

The Outstanding NZ Food Producers awards celebrate Kiwis who harvest, grow and make food and drinks.  And judging was on these criteria:
  • PRODUCT: Quality, taste, consistency, visual appearance, innovation, packaging (if applicable), innovation (80%)
  • SUSTAINABILITY: Sustainable business practices in producing the product (10%)
  • BRAND STORY: The story of your brand, how you got here, where you’re going, what makes your product special and demonstrates your passion. (10%).

Check out the award-winning Marokopa Spring honey

We're sure you'll love Marokopa Spring honey as well!  Check out our feedback from customers:


"There is always honey in our house but it's usually the budget brand. After tasting Sweetree Marokopa Spring honey I can see why people pay the extra price. I was told that people eat it by the spoonful and I was thinking to myself that honey isn't that tasty that I would ever do that. Well, after seeing the yummy looking honey in the lovely labelled jar I had to try it and wow, it was yummo. I don't think I could go back to the budget brand now."
Caroline Rainham, Levin

"I received my order of honey today and I just wanted to thank you guys so much for the effort you put in.  The package was securely wrapped, it was fast delivery and I honestly couldn't be happier.  I was not expecting even half of the effort put in so thank you so much.  I just wanted to let you guys know that you are doing a great job and I will definitely be ordering from you guys again as well as recommending your business."
Nikita Rindel, Christchurch
 

Read about other awards we have won

Outstanding-Producers-Award
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

So Many Reasons to Love Honeywrap Food Wraps!

Written by Stephanie on March 16th, 2019.      0 comments

There are so many reasons to love Honeywrap food wraps....

  • Honeywrap is one of the only beeswax wraps that use GOTS Organic cotton.  Honeywraps mission is to protect the planet and that can't be done without choosing organic cotton.  Organic cotton is made without pesticides therefore it is better for the environment, the farmers and eventually our own health as our skin and food is not exposed to the harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process of traditional cotton.
  • HoneyWrap-Medium-11Honeywrap customers have now saved the equivalent of 11 million meters of plastic from going to landfills and oceans and encouraged people to use more beautiful, sustainable alternatives!
  • They are locally and hand-made
  • The Fabrics are collaborations with Kiwi artists such as Evie Kemp, Natty
  • Honeywraps provide work for people with disabilities with the Create Your Own Starter Kits
  • Honeywrap supported over 100 different causes in 2018 with donations
  • They can be used as a non-slip mat perfect to stop plates or chopping boards from slipping on the bench
  • They make great place-mats for little hands
  • Honeywraps' make awesome jar openers - for those really stuck lids and when you don't have any muscles about!
  • Honeywraps are fine to be posted overseas; making an awesome gift for overseas visitors- small and easy to post with a little kiwiana
  • We love that Honeywraps can be composted after they have come to the end of their life, it's recommended to cut them up so they break down faster.


Purchase Honeywraps here

HoneyWraps-group
 
 
Topics: , Enviromental , Products
 

Jam to the Food Bank

Written by Stephanie on March 7th, 2019.      0 comments

You may recall that a small group of us ladies get together to make jam from surplus fruit picked or donated, pour it into recycled Sweetree honey jars and give them to our local food bank.  We have recently made some delicious plum and strawberry jams (plums thanks to our neighbour and strawberries thanks to a donation by The Strawberry Farm on Newells Road).  We've just dropped off a few boxes of the jams to our local food bank in Ngaurawahia, which will be handed out to those in need.  What a great service they provide!

Thanks to those customers that give Sweetree honey jars back to us at the Hamilton Farmers Market!  We particularly like to give to food bank small jars to make the jam go around more people, so keep saving them up for us!
 

Find out what 'Sharing the Surplus' is all about!

 
Jam-Recipes
Jam-Pouring   Jam-Jars

 
Topics: , Sharing the Surplus
 

World Wildlife Day

Written by Stephanie on March 3rd, 2019.      0 comments

Today is World Wildlife Day and this years theme is “Life below water: for people and planet".

The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may be in the millions. Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5% of global GDP. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Marine wildlife has sustained human civilization and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, to material for handicraft and construction. It has also enriched our lives culturally, spiritually, and recreationally in different ways.

The capacity of life below water to provide these services is severely impacted, as our planet’s oceans and the species that live within it are under assault from an onslaught of threats. As much as 40% of the ocean is now heavily affected by the most significant and direct threat of over exploitation of marine species as well as other threats such as pollution, loss of coastal habitats and climate change. These threats have a strong impact on the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on marine ecosystem services, particularly women and men in coastal communities.

This is the first World Wildlife Day to focus on life below water. It is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the breathtaking diversity of marine life, the crucial importance of marine species to human development, and how we can make sure it will continue to provide these services for future generations.

This coincides nicely with NZ Seaweek, find out what's happening in New Zealand this week to help us connect with beautiful oceans.
 

Find out more about World Wildlife Day

 
World-WildLife-Day



Social media kit - https://www.wildlifeday.org/sites/default/files/PDF/WWD2019_social_media_kit_01.pdf
Topics: , Enviromental
 

This Week is Sea Week: 2-10 March

Written by Stephanie on March 1st, 2019.      0 comments

Seaseaweek smallweek is New Zealand’s annual national week for the sea and focuses on learning from the sea.  It’s about exciting and inspiring all New Zealanders to renew their connections with the sea! It's not just for children, it's a great time for all of us to get to know our ocean, its habitats, characteristics and inhabitants better.  This years theme is 'Care for Our Seas'.

Let's head to the beach sometime over this week and enjoy our wonderful NZ coastlines.  Get in the water, walk on the beach, look out for different wildlife, take a rubbish sack and pick up rubbish.  Why not  grab a NZ sealife guide out of the library and take the kids to the rock pools for a fosick around!

 There will be a wide range of events, activities, opportunities and competitions around the country.  

Check out what's happening in your area this Seaweek



 

Topics: , Enviromental
 

Marokopa Spring Back in Stock!

Written by Stephanie on February 22nd, 2019.      0 comments

Our popular Marokopa Spring honey is back in stock!!


Sweetree's Marokopa Spring is collected from late September to November from the remote west coast settlement of Marokopa, south of the renowned Waitomo Caves.  Here our bees forage on hill country wildflowers, clover and native bush such as Rewarewa, Kamahi and Heketara.  This season's Marokopa Spring has a strong Rewarewa component.  It really is delicious!
 

Here are some photos of Sweetree's Marokopa Spring honey - from our beehives to your table!  

 
1Dan-in-Truck
It's great having our 16-year-old son helping out, he's enjoying spending quality time with his dad, even if it means really early starts.
 
2honey-on-hives
Fresh frames of Marokopa Spring honey, nothing like it.  Yum!
 
3Honey-on-trailer
Loading up to take the honey back to the honey house
 

5ready-for-extraction
Boxes of honey (supers) awaiting extraction
6spinner
Extraction - spinning the honey out of the frames
 


9lidding-close-up
Packing time - thanks again for our son's help, thank goodness it was Waitangi Day & he had a day off school!
 
8filling
Yummy jar of Marokopa Spring honey!
 
10labelling
Time to label all those jars!
 

 Purchase this seasons Sweetree Marokopa Spring honey


 

  
Topics: , Products
 

Vote for Us!

Written by Stephanie on February 19th, 2019.      0 comments

peoples-choice award producerKiwis are renowned for their passion for the country, its people and its produce. That’s why the Oustanding Producers Awards are asking Kiwis to help find New Zealand’s finest.  

We'd love it if you could vote for us in their People's Choice Award!  Just go to their website and enter 'Sweetree Honey' as your producer and your favourite farmers market (ours is Hamilton Farmers Market).  Thanks so much in advance, we really appreciate it!!

Everyone who votes in the Coast People’s Choice Awards goes into the draw to win a year’s subscription to NZ Life & Leisure and an Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards hamper, featuring a selection of winning products from the Awards! 
 

VOTE HERE - Let's show everyone that Waikato makes great honey!!

Topics: , About Sweetree
 

Where Do you Put Your Dental Floss?

Written by Stephanie on February 1st, 2019.      0 comments

EcoFloss LowWhere do you put your dental floss?  Our dental hygienist suggested in the shower!  It's been the perfect place for us to remember to floss, I'm flossing way more than I used to.  I was worried about the container collecting condensation but I keep it out of the water on a shelf in the shower and it's perfectly fine, as you can see in this photo. 

You might be able to tell we're just about out of dental floss but the great news is, with eco-floss, I can just replace the reel of floss in my glass bottle with a refill!  No plastic wastage anymore!  Perfect!
 

Check out the eco-floss and refills here


 
Topics: , Enviromental, Products
 

You Look After The Environment More Than You Know When Eating Sweetree Honey!

Written by Stephanie on December 21st, 2018.      0 comments

Thanks to everyone that ate Sweetree honey this year, you stopped 10,000 plastic pottles going into the landfill this year alone by eating your honey out of glass jars instead of plastic ones!  Your old glass jars are now being re-used or recycled which is fantastic!  

But believe it not you have done more than that!  Did you know that most beekeepers have plastic hiveware, such as plastic honey frames, in their hives??  What happens to this hiveware at the end of it's life?  It goes in the landfill!  Let alone what plastic residue is going into the honey and beeswax (it's gets pretty hot in a beehive on a hot summers day)!  
 
Sweetree Spring Harvest frame 1-390made a decision right from the start to avoid plastic for our honey, not just the end product but all the way through the process.  It's so important for our customers health, the bees health and the health of our planet!

The plastic frames are so popular with beekeepers now many of the major suppliers don't even promote or sell the wooden frames any more.  It does cost us a lot more to have the old fashioned wooden frames but it's worth it!  

It does concern me that there are millions of plastic frames out there that will end up in the landfill so when talking to beekeepers try and get them to go back to the good old wooden frames!  We all need to start caring about this issue!

Thanks for supporting us and our planet!
 

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic

Topics: , Enviromental
 

Don't Worry if You've Missed Ordering Online Before Christmas!

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

We have snuck away for a little break before Christmas, as we'll be busy beekeeping over the holidays.  We will not be sending any orders from midday 14th December until 3rd Jan.  But don't worry you can still purchase our honeys at your local stockist and Martin will be at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Sunday 16th December!  We will also have our full range of honey, pollen, gift boxes, HoneyWraps and bee friendly seeds at the Farm Shop in Gordonton Village.  Here are their hours up until Christmas:


The Farm Shop, 1060 Gordonton Road, Gordonton Village Hours:

Wed 12th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Thur 13th Dec   10am to 5.30pmChristmas Decoration
Fri    14th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Sat 15th Dec     9am to 4pm
Sun 16th Dec   10am to 3pm
Mon 17th Dec   10am to 5pm
Tues 18th Dec   10am to 5pm
Wed 19th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Thur 20th Dec   10am to 5.30pm
Fri 21st Dec       10am to 5.30pm
Sat 22nd Dec    9am to 5pm
Sun 23rd Dec   10am to 5pm
Xmas Eve (24th)  9am to .........

As you can see they will be running 13 days straight to the build up to Christmas Eve!  Thanks team!


 
 

Buzzy Time of Year!

Written by Stephanie on December 11th, 2018.      0 comments

This is one of our busiest times of the year, getting the hives all sorted for the new season ahead.  Making sure they are healthy and strong, moving them to where they need to be to collect that delicious honey and making sure they have plenty of supers (honey collecting boxes) to store the honey.  We've had to move a lot of hives this season to re-arrange apiary locations, which has added a lot more work than usual.  Since Martin works full-time during the week, on his normal job, his weekends are rather busy, it's not uncommon for him to get home 11pm or later and back out at 5am the next morning.  Thank goodness one our our son's has finished school for the year so is Martin's right hand man at the moment!  They are enjoying the special father and son time travelling to and from apiary sites.

 
These hives are heading out to our Hakarimata and Kirikiriroa sites.
Topics: , About Sweetree
 

Waste Free Christmas

Written by Stephanie on November 18th, 2018.      0 comments

Christmas is a fun time of year but it can also be very wasteful, there are many items that get used only once and are then thrown out for example wrapping paper, disposable cups, plates and cutlery. I'm sure we can still have a lot of fun but cut back our waste at the same time!
 

Decorations:

social-media-Candles-239Of course using what you already have is a good start but if you need a refresh on Christmas decorations how about ribbons, material bunting and folding paper decorations, stay away from unsustainable decorations (plastic and tinsel). Homemade items are always really good but if you don't have time for that you might find more sustainable decorations from websites like felt.co.nz.  I brought a fantastic 'Merry Christmas' bunting make of out woollen blankets on Felt a few years ago that will last for decades, I love it.  Beeswax candles make a lovely feature on the table.  And remember that the garden has lots to offer, not just flowers but foliage, pine cones and berries can look good as arrangements or placed on the table. And once used they can go to the compost!

Go rummaging around in 2nd hand shops and choose colourful candle sticks, vases, serving dishes, table cloth and cloth serviettes for the table. 
 

Crockery

It's best to avoid using disposable plates and utensils all together, but if you need disposables choose home compostable ones. You will need make it easy for your guests to know where to dispose scrap food and their plates and utensils, so a waste station that is clearly labelled is going to help.

If you don't have enough of your own crockery or utensils then ask friends and family to bring their own plates and/or utensils and take home afterwards. Or just borrow from friends or hire bits and pieces from a hireage company.
 

Cleaning up

Having a wash up station is a great idea. You can ask folk to wash 10 plates or get the kids on board to help. If the wash area is well set up people are happy to help, just keep an eye out for the very diligent helper and make sure you drag them out of the kitchen. You want everyone to have a turn. Make sure there are some special drinks and food nearby so they all get spoilt too!

We have a pretty complicated waste system with chicken, worm farm and compost scraps, paper, soft plastics and other recycling.  When we have gatherings at our place (and they can be be quite big with Martin being one of seven) I label were all the different things go so we don't add to the landfill.
 

Gifts

Try to avoid unhelpful gift buying and receiving by having lists, telling people you don’t need a gift, and discouraging secret Santa.  Sometimes we don’t need stuff but enjoy experiences and help.  We can take people on a little adventure, give them a massage, offer to do a chore, cook a special dinner or go on a picnic, there are so many ideas that you and your family could enjoy. You can create redeemable vouchers.  

Instead of secret Santa how about an alternative for example the exchange of favourite recipes, or even jokes, life hacks, fun facts, a favourite saying or piece of poetry, or even a compliment if you know the recipient - you might need to choose a theme so everyone is on board.  Our your could all donate to a special charity.

I've got loads of sustainable gift giving & wrapping ideas in my other blog post.
 

Catering

social-media-waste-free-celebrations-726Try to make dips, hummus and pate instead of the prepacked versions.  Make your own drinks instead of fizzy drinks in plastic bottles.  We use a soda stream that uses the same bottles over and over and add Barkers fruit concentrate to flavour them.  Barkers is in glass jars and use real fruit instead of flavours and colours.

There are shops that will fill your own containers like Hamilton Beer and Wine Co or the Good George. Of course there is the traditional beer swappa crate as well.

Get a little organised and try to make a salad rather than buy salads prepackaged at the supermarket.  Use a tried and true one to avoid stress or maybe you need some motivation and want to try a new recipe.  Remember when buying your salad greens avoid the ones in plastic!  

If you're taking a plate to someone else's house take it in a nice platter and cover it with an extra large Honeywrap, not only is it better for the environment, it looks great and you can leave the wrap behind as a gift for the host. 

It's a great time to start thinking outside the square and see what sustainable options you can bring into your Christmas celebrations this year.  Enjoy!
 

Get more tips on sustainable gift giving and wrapping
Check out Sweetree's sustainable gift range

Topics: , Enviromental
 
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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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