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Where are we?
Mahurangi West is a remote unspoilt coastal peninsular, approximately 1 hours’ drive north of Auckland City. Here the bees forage for nectar in the dense coastal scrublands and bush. Our predominant native species is the Pohutukawa, Kanuka and Manuka, which all make beautiful, but distinctly different honeys. Here, we are the sole operators of our Artisan Beekeeping Business, from the Queen breeding, through to harvest, bottling in our Certified Commercial extraction room, and then selling at the weekend markets.
Why small batch?
We believe that being smaller scale, we are able to be gentle on the bees and have better control of our harvest. We are able to manually separate out the frames into their nectar type, wax colour and position in the hives, giving us the pure white Pohutukawa, salty sweet and delicate, or green tinged Kanuka with it limy yellow wax! It’s not about speed and time frames, it’s about ethical conscientious handling of our bees. Looking after them, and they will look after us!
Why Raw Honey?
Because we choose to supply Raw Honey, it means we cannot drum the honey as a lot of the bigger commercial guys do. In the middle of summer, usually just after Christmas, when we see the frames all nicely capped off, we start the Harvest, doing one Apiary at a time. Harvest, extract, and bottle straight away. If we don’t do this the honey will set in the vats, and then were in trouble.. This would require heating, to melt the honey, destroying a lot of the wonderful health giving properties, and of course it wouldn’t be RAW! Raw Honey is full of protein rich pollen, trace mineral vitamins, complex sugars that boost immunity, aid gut health, digestion and well-being.. An obvious choice to keep it unheated. The fresh honey is strained just twice, leaving the flex’s of propolis & pollen as nature intended
And the Manuka?
The first dominant flowering out here, in very early spring is the Manuka.. It’s not until the temperatures reach 18 degrees that the bees can draw off this sought after rich, spicy nectar. The Manuka is amber in colour, thick and sticky. Very hard to extract, it requires more aggravation, and a higher speed of spinning. It’s a challenging crop, but well worth the effort. Our Manuka is all laboratory tested, giving us the NPA (Non Peroxide Activity) rating and the MGO (Methogloxyl) Each Apiary site rating is slightly different, so the Manuka is catagorised into 5+ or 10+, saving on relabeling each year!
Where are the Hives?
Our hives are placed in strategic positions along the 7 km Mahurangi West peninsula. Some in Waiwera, and now a small site in Hatfields Beach. We have a good relationship with the landowners, supplying them with plenty of honey and the odd bottle of Honey Mead and Beeswax Balm.. We believe in keeping our business close to home. This cuts costs, uses a smaller carbon foot print, and we can manage the disease and mite control better, away from other bigger commercial operators. We follow the gentleman’s agreement of keeping to our own patch, and respecting other Beekeepers and their space
Our choice to become Beekeepers goes way back to when I was a girl, and my mum had bees in the back yard. I assisted her with everything, growing in me that passion and ease with Bees.
My husband and I have been hobbyist for 25 years now, but turned semi commercial about 5 years ago, when I lost my job and started selling our excess honey at the local market. The “Idea” has turned into an all-encompassing lifestyle, and now a sustainable Artisan business. What encourages me the most, is the feedback from customers, people are amazed at the taste of purity and nature. And of course... for the love of bees…