Honey is art – nature is a gift!

Personally, I share in the belief that life is art and it’s our creative drive that moves the heart to act and create in the world. At Green Bay, we follow this belief by making all efforts to understand the creativity that goes into producing truly nourishing food and especially beautiful honey. I think that all food is best enjoyed close to the source but in our far from pure world it is often the quality of the environment that affects the finer aspects of a good honey. For this reason, we spend time to research and get to know our honey suppliers to ensure that the products we sell are the best of what nature has to offer in it and not a version of this diluted by man made additions and commercial interests.

Bees coming back home

Bees coming back home

Close up view of the working bees on honeycells. honey comb and a bee working

Hive_honeycomb_manuka_honey

Manuka Honey apiarist

John Glass with our Apiarist in NZ

John Glass with our Manuka Honey apiarist in NZ

John Glass with our Manuka Honey apiarist in NZ

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Grower Profile: An Insight to an Apiarist

An Overview:BRIDGE

Our raw honey is sourced from a small group of apiarists in the south island of New Zealand who are committed to producing high quality honey. At a time when there is concern over the diminishing bee population, we are proud to work with such careful and considerate experts. We know all of our suppliers personally – we can name the person who supplied each jar-full – and this close relationship works well for us. Our apiarists are always keen to talk through the details with us, helping us find the best batches, and as a result our customers can trace their honey back to the hive.

One of Our Growers:

A passsionate advocate of organic farming and production and one of the true charatcers of the New Zealand business industry, Gary has 60 years of bee keeping experience, including an Apicultural Cadetship from Canterbury College and 5 years researching clover and brassica pollination, insecticides and pollen analysis of honey. At University he read Zoology, Botany, Chemistry and Physics. Aged 75, he still walks the bush to check his hives and modestly claims that he still has more to learn from the bees.

The Apiary:

Now in his 75th year, Gary owns and operates his apiary or 800 hives in equal partnership will his son and daughter on the West Coast. It is a region that attracts both international visitors and locals alike to the spectacular scenery which features dramatic coastlines, lush natural bush and rainforest, crystal clear rivers and lakes and snowcapped mountains and glaciers. Here the pace of life is alot slower and more relaxed than anywhere else in New Zealand.

With a rich industry of coal mining, gold and jade prospecting, forestry and fishing; ‘West Coasters’ have a reputation for self reliance and enterprising thinking.

Small is Good:

Rainforest Honey and Manuka Honey production doesn’t reach huge volumes in this area. However, what is produced in this beautiful and unspoiled countryside, is of excellent quality and purity. In fact, it is the remotness that discourages other beekeepers from operating there and also acts as a natural barrier to disease.

GARYIn the beginning…

“Originally Manuka Honey was looked down upon as it was hard to extratct and was considered only suitable to be used as feed honey. In those days i was laughed at by other bee keepers when I announced that one day manuka Honey would be recognized for its true worth”, laughs Gary.

Distinctive Taste:

Manuka Honey is light amber in colour and darkens rapidly and tends to take on a sharper taste when heated- something Gary avoids at all costs. Good quality Manuka honey will trap air bubbles in it, which helps to create a jelly like consistency.

Nothing is Taken for Granted:

Manuka flowers every year from early December to late January, but the amount of activity of the honey varies. Fine, settled weather is best during this perios to ensure a good crop. Honey production depends on a number of factors. It’s important to get the hives to maximim strength just as the honey flow starts witht the flowering of the Manuka. Swarming should be avoided at this time as it reduces the bee strength. Witht he increasing conversion of both areas of natural native Manuka scrub into dailty farm pasture, good honey-producing manuka sites are becoming scarce.

“We need to find sheltered sites to reduce the loss of bees due to wind disturbance.”

Personal Proof:

Gary is no stranger to the healing properties of Manuka Honey:

“I have tried it on dry burns and it definitely stops blistering. I have seen it act on cut fingers from a saw bench accident  and the fingers basically grew new skin over the cuts in just a few days.”

His son in law also agrees,

“Gary sent me some to the hospital I used to work at, where the honey was used as a treatment. One patient suffering from a throat infection was not responding to the normal range of antibiotics. The only course left was a treatment, which cost NZ$1,000 a day, for a period of 5 days, but with side affects that included kidney and liver damage. The doctor in charge prescribed Manuka honey before administering the final antibiotic treatment. The patient was given a teaspoon full every three hours and he went home cured in three days!”

FLOWER

The Biggest Buzz:

And even after all that time, Gary is still as enthusiastic as ever.

“I think I would keep bees  even if not expecting an income as they are always interesting. I suppose you could call it a lifestyle choice. Every day you always see something different in their behaviour because of the weather and which time of flowers are in bloom at the time. Every single hive reacts differently too”, reflects Gary.

So you can see that one of our main apiarists has an ardent love for his job and for his bees. As stated above, it is not just about economical return as is the case of some honeys; it is about the welfare of the bees and sustaining and protecting the environment in which they live.

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How to eat Green Bay’s fresh Manuka honeycomb… including the beeswax!

How to eat fresh raw manuka honey comb – by beekeeper and Manuka honey expert Gary Jeffery
Eating comb honey may not appear straight forward, but it’s really very easy. Many people ask “is the beeswax edible?” not realising that you can actually spread the honeycomb on your bread/toast, beeswax and all, or simply cut it into small bite size chunks with a knife and spoon. Just as when you spread the honeycomb, you can eat both the honey and the beeswax. Small chunks of honeycomb are a perfect complement to afternoon tea and look great on the table beside the tea pot.

I eat a honeycomb in the same manner that I eat a flounder (flat fish); removing one side then turning it over to eat from the other side. The reason for this is because sometimes the centre foundation is a bit thicker depending on whether or not the bees used it to draw the comb using wax from it. Below is a short clip showing how I cut up my raw Manuka Honey Comb.

The wax itself can be chewed like a natural chewing gum when you have eaten all the honey. Or you can keep it aside and use it for all sorts of household purposes. To read more about how to use your beeswax see Jo’s Uses of Beeswax article
Gary Jeffreys is one of Green Bay’s favourite apiarists and supplier of raw Manuka honeycomb. 

Want to share how you you eat your Manuka Honeycomb? Tell us by posting below.

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Pictures of Honeycomb from the hive!

Arianne Glass about to enjoy one of her 'favourite-ist' treats; fresh Honey Comb from one of Jo's Hive

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How To Make Your Beeswax Candles

As our fresh Raw Manuka Honeycomb arrives in port and we prepare to send out all our pre-ordered honeycombs, I thought I would post a picture of the label  from the front of the honeycomb box.

Manuka Honeycomb Label

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have seen my article about the Secrets of the Hive, The Uses of Beeswax and I wanted to add a video I found showing how to make you own bees wax candles.

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Secrets of the hive, the uses of beeswax

The beehive is one of nature’s most beautiful and ingenious creations. It’s sophisticated geometric shapes look like the work of humans, but instead they are one of the animal-world’s great inventions. The hexagonal wax cells form the comb which is the home for the young bee, the pollen store and for nectar that is turned into honey – food for the bees to keep for a rainy day.

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Why do bees make wax?

The bees wax is produced by the worker bees from glands on their back legs. For every ten pounds of honey in the hive, there is a pound of wax, which makes it a rarer material than honey. The bees use it to build their hive home which is why beeswax is found in the honeycomb. Order from us at Green Bay.

The main use of beeswax is to create the bees’ hive, but humans have found many other ways to use it. Beeswax is part of the bees’ home and for hundreds of years we have made it a part of our home too.

What can we use beeswax for?

It’s a tough wax with a high melting point of 62 to 64 degrees celcius, so it makes for a great slow burning candle. The smell of a beeswax candle is lovely too; a mild aroma of honey that can last for hours.

Beeswax candles require a lot of bees wax and a mould or the patience to melt the wax and dip the wick into the hot wax every minute for about an hour. Other uses for beeswax, some of which you may like to try for yourself include furniture, shoe or cricket bat polish. Or How about saving a fortune by making your own beeswax skincare products? That may sound daunting, but it’s a lot easier than you imagine. You can also use your Green Bay Manuka honeycomb mixed with oils, lanolin,scent and a few other ingrediants for this purpose.

Another great use for beeswax is as a furniture wax. It is naturally waterproof so you can use it as an excellent base for your own wood finish. It can give a desirable warm, aged look to your furniture. It brings out the grain in the wood and will also protect it, making this ideal for wood that needs tender care.

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You can even waterproof your leather boots with beeswax, which is perfect for those who love the outdoor life.

Where to source Beeswax …

Green Bay’s Manuka honeycomb is imported from New Zealand where it was harvested in the Kiwi summertime. You can extract the pure honey by removing the capping and letting the honey slowly drain out of the wax cells, then the wax is free to melt down.  Using a metal container put the beeswax (in whatever state) into it and place the container in a vessel of  hot water to melt.  After a while, stir and any residues will float to the surface and can be poured away to leave the pure beeswax.

With just a handful of other ingredients you too could make candles, wax furniture or waterproof your shoes. To see how to make beeswax candles, watch a video on my How to Make Your Beeswax Candles post.

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Seasonal Release – Raw Manuka Honeycomb

Green Bay's Raw Manuka Honeycomb

I have reserved 50 Raw Manuka honeycombs for our Real Food for Better Being subscribers, so you too have the opportunity to experience Manuka honey in its rawest form.

Eating cut comb honey is one of life’s rare pleasures. To have raw Manuka Honey in a comb, crammed with natural enzymes, natural pollen and the legendary therapeutic properties of the Manuka tree is rarer still.

Greg and I were in New Zealand during December and we spoke to one of our favourite beekeepers, Gary Jeffery. Together, we are able to offer you the freshest Manuka Honeycomb. Gary is delighted at the prospect of sharing his honey in its rawest form with an appreciate audience.

Here you can see the pictures of the harvest, which John and Maria snapped during their recent visit to Mountain Beech Apiaries. I have also included some excerpts from Gary’s updates (which he faxes to me during the harvest). 

Harvest notes from Gary:
“I am very pleased with the quality. As expected with darker honey, the cappings are not as white as if we used white honey, but a very nice looking capping.”
“Most of the honeycombs come from three of our organic apiaries… it is going to give us a better honeycomb and a good supply each year.”

These raw Manuka honeycombs are only available at Green Bay and are superior to the high street offerings. Cut comb makes a fabulous gift and is a wonderful way to introduce the Manuka Honey story to friends and family so they can enjoy fresh, raw Manuka Honey harvested at the during the southern hemisphere summer from one of the most scenic places in the world.

Here are the details if you wish to experience this fabulous artisian product:

  • each cut of fresh Manuka Honeycomb contains 340g and costs £15.95 (the minimum order is 3 combs)
  • orders of 6 combs save 10%
  • orders of 12 combs or more save 20%

Shipping and handling is free on all deliveries within the UK. If you wish to reserve your raw Manuka Honeycombs today, please click the following link to email me at jo.glass@greenbayharvest.co.uk

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Kelp plays a part in healthy metabolism

If you find yourself feeling unusually tired or cold, depressed, struggling to remember things, and you’re losing more hair than normal, you could have a subclinical thyroid problem – up to 10 per cent of women do. One cause could be that you are low on iodine; a healthy thyroid certainly needs iodine to do its work regulating metabolism and playing its part in hormone balance. The average woman need 8 times as much iodine as a man, and a great natural source of iodine is kelp. Because the minerals in kelp are chelated, the body can absorb them well.

Kelp

Kelp makes a great substitute for refined salt. Often containing anti- caking agents such as aluminium, excessive amounts of salt can lead to kidney disorders and hypertension. In contrast, kelp contains natural unrefined sodium, together with magnesium and potassium which help to balance sodium levels.

Seaweeds contain many more minerals than most land plants: these high concentrations of nutrients help to block absorption of toxic metals such as mercury and cadmium. The good levels of alginate in kelp are an effective slimming aid in that they attach to fat molecules, escorting them undigested, out of the body.

Kelp also has superb antifungal and antibacterial properties and is currently being investigated for its potential role in protecting against breast cancer.

The pure waters around New Zealand and the islands’ natural seclusion ensure that Green Bay Fine Kelp is harvested from the best possible sources. A lack of heavy industry together with strict government controls means Green Bay’s kelp has almost insignificant exposure to pollutants.

Find out more

  • Recent laboratory tests have shown Green Bay’s Fine Kelp to contain up to 40 times the natural iodine content of some commercially available seaweed, read more »

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What’s so special about Manuka honey?

Many raw honeys have some antibacterial properties; enzymes in honey naturally produce hydrogen peroxide, which is an antibacterial agent. However, these properties are easily destroyed by heat and light (processing is included here), and by the enzyme catalase in our bodies which breaks down hydrogen peroxide, further damaging the antibacterial strength.

Active Manuka honey, sourced only from New Zealand where the Manuka bush grows, is different. It contains high concentrations of another antibacterial compound called methylglyoxal (mgo), which is a natural by-product of glucose produced by humans, animals and plants. Mgo is very stable and not damaged by heat, light or catalase enzymes.

Although mgo is found in a variety of honeys, research into more than 80 honeys from around the globe found that levels in manuka honey were unique – up to 70 times higher than those in other honey.

Working with another as yet unidentified compound, mgo provides antibacterial protection that is twice as effective as other honeys against bacteria in infected wounds and far better at beating the helicobacter pylori bacteria, the common cause of peptic ulcers.

The antibacterial activity of manuka honey penetrates more deeply into skin tissue, enabling it successfully to treat infected wounds which have resisted all other treatments, including strong antibiotics. In addition, research into manuka’s anti-inflammatory properties continue though so far only proven on an individual basis.

Medical miracles aside, manuka honey is also a delicious source of iron, zinc, B vitamins and antioxidants for everyday health.

This adds up to a unique and comprehensive natural superfood for immunity and health management which Green Bay brings to you in optimum condition, shipped by sea and packed in glass in the UK; thereby maintaining a very low carbon footprint. Committed as we are, to a healthy future for us all.

Find out more

  • More about Green Bay’s Manuka Honey click here
  • Green Bay has a commitment to providing the best raw honey we can find read our Quality Promise to find out how we do it.

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Cold comfort for beekeeper’s

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) or honeybee colony depopulation syndrome, is a worldwide problem affecting the nine varieties of honeybee; bees in huge numbers abandon their hives during the winter months and never return. One fifth of honey hives in the UK alone were lost last winter.

Honeybees are vulnerable in a different way to the 20,000 other bee varieties as they store food in the hive to sustain them over winter; it?s possible therefore that their food stores are being poisoned, with pesticides for example. (Significantly, wildlife that normally moves in to an abandoned hive to collect honey and pollen don?t go near CCD hives.) In France, beekeepers have forced the withdrawal of a certain pesticide from sale due to a belief that it adversely affects bee populations.

However, the causes of CCD are still not fully understood, some leaps in the research did occur last year: in August 2009 CCD bees were found to be experiencing higher numbers of viral infections, which may be implicated in the bees?disappearance.

Other possible factors include the practice of importing non-native bees which do not adapt well to the climate, a loss of habitat and malnutrition caused by monocrop farming. Moving bees around the country as a pollination service creates high stress for bees, which may be undermining their immunity.

Environmental stresses may be interfering with bees? navigation systems, preventing them from finding their way back to their hive. Bees? behaviour appears to change near power lines, and when subjected to radiation from mobile phones.

Although CCD is a worldwide issue, it is to date unknown in New Zealand where Green Bay sources most of its honey.

On a small scale, there are things we can do: growing wild flowers, organic gardening, putting up bee boxes and water bowls can all make a difference.

Find out more

  • Other ideas and information from the Vanishing of the Bees film, click here

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