Gordon Chesterman (HCC Councillor) & Martin checking out the Kirikiriroa honey
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.
At 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 year's!
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.