Award sweet for local beekeepers

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Waikato beekeepers Stephanie and Martin Lynch of Sweetree honey, regular stallholders at the Tamahere Market, have won an award at the national Farmers Market Awards.

Martin, Stephanie, Daniel and Matthew Lynch

The Horsham Downs couple were placed third equal in the ‘From the Kitchen Bench’ section of the annual awards and were rated ones to watch in 2011.

The Lynches, with sons Daniel, eight, and Matthew, six, are involved in every aspect of the business, from bee husbandry, to harvesting, processing, packing and point of sale, reports Number 8 Network.

Martin had been a bee hobbyist for some years before the couple realized that bee hives could help diversify their income. They have gradually increased their hives to just under 100 and harvest around four tonnes of honey a year,

“Bees are amazing creatures and produce wonderful natural food,” they say. “Stephanie has always been interested in natural healthy food while Martin enjoys managing the bees and the physical nature of the work (after working at a desk all week).

“Our operation is small enough that we can take care of every aspect and ensure that the very best quality is delivered. 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 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. We don’t heat our products any higher than would occur naturally in the beehive. Therefore the natural enzymes present in the honey are preserved during the processing and you end up with a product that is exactly as it was in the hive.”

What is the couple’s favourite way to eat honey! Believe it or not, honey on toast!

“We often give our boys honey straight off the spoon regularly if they are not feeling 100%, works a treat.”

Vitality Sweetree Honey website

The full list of Farmers Market award winners

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