This was published in Supermarket News in 2020.
Sweetree honey is pure, location-specific honey from the Waikato. Each of the honey varieties is a true reflection of the area and season its bees have worked their magic. From the candy and toffee flavour of the Hakarimata to the gorgeous zesty tones of Marokopa Spring - there is a Sweetree honey to suit all tastes and occasions.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
Sweetree Honey is a homegrown family honey business owned by Stephanie and Martin Lynch with 250 beehives spread over the Waikato. We are passionate about natural healthy food that is made or grown locally. Bees are amazing creatures that produce a wonderful variety of natural food that can help enrich our health.
For Martin, bees have always been part of his life, his grandfather, uncles and father kept bees and he developed a passion for them as a teenager. For many years Martin remained a hobbyist beekeeper until 2002 when we moved to a lifestyle block in Horsham Downs, near Hamilton. Along with us came Martin's three beehives. Rather than grazing our own stock, we decided it would be more fun to graze a few additional bees, and our business has grown from there.
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
We currently have the following honey in stock (in 250g & 500g glass jars):
Four Brothers Reserve
Horsham Downs Country
Sweetree Honey is a true reflection of the Waikato's flora. Much like a great wine reflects the terroir of where the grapes have grown, Sweetree Honey’s different varieties reflect the area and season the bees worked their magic. From the light and creamy coloured honey of the Four Brothers Reserve with an almost caramel flavour to the more peppery Marokopa Summer - there is a Sweetree honey to suit all tastes and occasions.
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. One of the things Martin learned as a hobbyist beekeeper is that you can deliver sensational honey from a small number of hives. It’s all about the nearby floral sources and how you process that honey. For this reason, we choose our sites carefully. Each apiary location has its own special nuance and character, and this is reflected in the honey when you come to taste it.
We enjoy offering customers the ‘taste’ of a location. Customers often comment they love that our honey can bring back memories of a special place to them whether it’s Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo, Marokopa, Four Brothers Reserve or The Hakarimata Ranges. Children also love they can eat honey that comes from somewhere they connect to.
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
As artisan producers of bee products, we are involved in every aspect of our honey business. From bee husbandry, to harvesting, processing, packing and point of sale. Every effort is made to maintain the natural properties of our products along the way.
We think it's important for customers to connect to the producer of their food, we have no current plans to make our business any bigger. We love that it's a small family business.
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
We sell from our website and at the Hamilton Farmers Market.
Here are some of the stores that stock our honey:
- Bin Inn stores around the North Island
- Boric Food Market (Auckland)
- Wholeheart Wholefoods (Hamilton)
- Huka Honey Hive (Taupo)
- The Farm Shop (Gordonton Village)
- The Country Providore (rural Hamilton)
- Naturally Healthy (Hamilton)
- Organic Nation (Hamilton)
- Go Eco (Hamilton)
- Herbal Shop & Clinic (Hamilton)
- Capers Epicurean (Rotorua)
- Dantes Fine Foods (Cambridge)
- Red Kitchen and Cafe (TeAwamutu)
- Savour the Taste (TeKauwhata)
- The Merino Story (Tirau)