Achieving scale in the honey industry has meant that honey packers have been treating every honey they buy from bee farmers in the UK, EU, China and beyond as if it’s the same; mixing them all together to create a single honey flavour that loses the originality of each one that’s gone in to the mix. The scale doesn’t have to be that large for this to happen either – a British honey from hives across Essex for example, will also be losing the flavours of several different Essex honeys in the mix. Hive & Keeper’s honeys are different: each has their own flavour, colour and texture created solely by nature, and not by the blending process, each speaking of the place and the bees that made them. Good provenance is at the heart of what we do: • first of course we have to know that our beekeepers are good and careful custodians of their bees. We’re very proud of each of our beekeepers and put their name on every jar of their honey. • then we have to know the apiary that each honey has come from and learn about the area, its landscape and the plants the bees were foraging on. • Each honey has come straight from the hive to us, just spun from the frame and put through a wide mesh sieve by the beekeeper first to take out bits of bee and wax. Other than that, it’s just as the bees made it.
We’re currently working with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) piloting the National Honey Monitoring Scheme that will take samples of honeys from across the UK each year. Analysis will tell how successful agricultural policies have been over time as we hope to see more pollens from set aside. hedgerows and field margins year on year. Hive & Keeper has supplied all of the samples for the early pilot stage and are looking forward to working with CEH for years to come, with our beekeepers helping to monitor the health of our natural environment.