People who have enjoyed our honey have kindly commented:
We opened the jar (Brightwater) today with kids.
So full of flavour and goodness your honey (we bought one from local shop a couple of weeks ago too). Reminded me of the honey from my grandad. He had five beehives at the backyard at our grandparents' house out of town... That is Irkutsk, Southern Siberia. :-)
Natalya and boys. :-)
Hi Tudor, both the honeys are delicious, no favourite! Explosion of flavours. Thanks Marjon
Zoe: Hi Tudor, thanks again for the honey tasting today. We came home and had another round. the big honey (cap one i think - [Murphiary, full kanuka]) produced : round, sweet, firm, rich, lemony and yummy (obvious one from the kids). The runny brightwater honey :sweet, drippygold texture, herby. Toby’s one: chewy, caramel, subtle, depth, gritty sweets. See you soon, cheers Zoe
Shaun: The policeman's wife telephoned. She told me that her neighbour Toby, the oldest man in Portobello, wanted to have some beehives in his garden. In Portobello it is sensible to do as the Policeman's wife says. One afternoon, after some bee-keeping, I dropped in to see Toby. He looked at the bee suit, "you must be the bee-keeper" he said. "And you must be the oldest man in Portobello" I said. He seemed pleased that we had agreed on labels. He told me that he had once run a market garden on the property and a local bee-keeper had kept hives there to help with pollination. That bee-keeper had moved on many years ago and Toby missed having bees around. He said that he hadn't much time left, given that he was the oldest man in Portobello, and that he would like to spend his final summers sitting on his deck listening to the bees working. I agreed to install 2 hives against the North facing wall of his house, close to his deck. Toby bought top notch equipment and I sourced some queens and bees. As is often the case the first year was difficult, culminating in one weak hive and one queenless hive. No honey, but Toby understood animals and the way of nature so wasn't too upset. By a stroke of luck I had a call to deal with a swarm of bees at Otakou. I caught them in a cardboard box and after a suitable period of quarantine I carefully introduced them to Toby's queenless hive. From that point on there was no looking back. We took splits from the swarmed queen and both hives became strong and healthy./ By the end of the next summer we had 2 strong hives full of honey. "A bloody marvellous queen" became Toby's mantra whenever I turned up to check the hives. Very soon Toby had more honey than he could ever eat.
After checking his hives I would often drop in to see Toby, he would make coffee and share his home baking and outrageous stories from his full life. Some of these stories formed the basis of his book "Tales of a Teamster", well worth a read if you get a chance. If I checked the hives late in the afternoon Toby would usually be asleep on his deck. His gentle snoring would complement the humming of happy bees and made for pleasant beekeeping.
And what of the honey? By the chance capture of an exceptional queen and the fancy of an old man in his last years we managed to produce honey of exceptional complexity and depth. The warm, north facing, sheltered wall of Toby's house, the fruit and vegetable garden, tall gums, exotic gardens, surrounding hills full of kanuka and thistle and the briny harbour just meters away all made for a honey of rare sophistication. Toby's honey is perhaps the finest of the Peninsula honeys and like a fine malt whisky grows more complex and puzzling as it ages. I have in my cupboard the remains of a jar of the first extraction from Toby's hives. It has become dark and mysterious with age. I save it for emergencies.
Toby passed away in December 2012 aged 92. But his hives are still going strong and still producing a rare and complex honey.
Shaun February 2015
This is, Sylvia typing to you . Yes I do love your honey, It makes me think of my early childhood when I lived at Broadbay, and, remembering when as kids when we used to play at the back of our garden and climb the fence and go playing up into the paddock which smelt of grass, hay and fruity bushes. Incidently, does any one know how honey first came into being? Now that would be an interesting story? from Sylvia.
Annie, who had the first honey from a hive on her property at Broad Bay: When I was a child, milo with honey on toast was the comfort food my grandmother gave us when we'd had a rough day, or for a late night treat. I still do the same for my children (at any age!). This honey evokes memories of that golden time. It's so fresh and amber and contains the fragrance of summer. It definitely has magic properties because just looking at it in the jar evokes joy. It is sublime. Thank you,
Theo, my 4 year old grandson: The bees make honey.
Anon: I like having honey if I am feeling fragile - better than an Aspirin
NZBees forum by “Rob’s BP”: Yours is the best Linden-Lavender I've had.
Bernard: Lavender honey
Scent of this honey
unlocks memory –
the day you came
into my life, to stay.
Margaret: who grew up in Stirling, Scotland: Lime and lavender honey .... final year at school, warm early summer day, lying wasting time under the limes, day dreaming to the smell of lime in flower, and dozing gently to the sweet hum of bees. I am enjoying the honey so much, a spoonful slowly melting on the tongue feels like a feast.
Catherine: You would think that as a beekeeper of more than 14 years I would have the skill and know the language involved in honey tasting....well I don't :)
Honey is like wine I either like it or I don't and your lime and lavender honey is at the top of my like list.
I really enjoyed this honey it was far too easy to eat!. It has a beautiful fragrance and feels really smooth in the mouth, its also unusual, Ive never had honey like it, which makes it very special.
Thanks guys ( and bees) for making a top product. I will for sure be coming back for seconds !
Shaun (my mentor): A spoonful of your Macandrew Bay honey took me back in time and distance to my boyhood in Kent, the garden of England. I was born in a small village called Broad Oak. Cottage gardens proliferated and were surrounded by apple and pear orchards. If the wind was in the right direction we got a good whiff of the North Sea to add to the heady mix. In the summer the air was full of the sound and smell of bees. At the end of our lane lived the local beekeeper. His name was Frank Macey. He would stalk through the village in his bee suit, puffer billowing smoke and asking everyone he met “you seen Frank Macey?” It was his catch phrase and became something of a mantra with the village boys who would follow him in a line, copying his walk and chanting “you seen Frank Macey”. Frank thought it hilarious. His honey was hard to come by, most of it went to London markets but just now and then a pot would appear on the kitchen table and it tasted and smelt like the summers, which were always long and hot: flowers, ripe fruit and a whiff of the sea. That’s what I get from your Macandrew Bay honey.
AB: Lime-Lavender honey - this was trickier than I thought, I suppose that's why "Food Critic" is an established vocation. We came up with: dreamy, creamy, unadulterated sweetness, indulgent and gorgeous. Feelings: happy & warm, Memories: farm honey from uncle’s beehives.
Ken: his first comment was “Hi, I have been enjoying your honey and have finished the last container. I thought that it would be great to have more but cannot find your product. Can you tell me if you have a shop or farm outlet that I can buy from. It is the best honey that I have tasted and I have never really been keen on honey before now.” His latest is “I found the flavour of the Lime and Lavender very interesting. The first flavour to come through was a beautiful memory of a field in summer. Lavender is there but overall it is bright and sunny. Although the initial flavour is exciting and very immediate it is the after taste that I really loved. It is fresh giving a very clean palate like drinking a long citrus drink in hot weather. Yes gotta be one of my favourites. This is a great journey of taste flavour thanks for the effort that you put in to get the best out of God’s creation.”