WORKING WITH SMALL SCALE BEEKEEPERS
Our aim is to help small scale British beekeepers to make a living from their honey because if we lose them we also lose our bees and some of the best custodians of our natural world. You can read about each of our beekeepers here.
It was one of our beekeepers, David Rudland who really bought the plight of the UK’s beekeepers and bees to life for me with this fact: back in the 1950's a beekeeper could make a living from selling honey from just 30 hives. Now, 70 years on. a beekeeper needs to have 200 hives if he's to make a living from just selling honey. It's because there is less forage for the bees to feed on as a result of changing farming methods, loosing hedgerows, meadows, woodlands and gardens. As a result to make a living today beekeepers need to diversify into teaching, breeding queens, selling colonies etc to support their honey income. We're doing our best to help by buying as much as we can and at a good price - we don't beat them down as that's not fair or kind!
HOW WE CHOOSE OUR BEEKEEPERS
It takes time, care and dedication to be a good beekeeper and make sure that your bees are healthy and strong. We don’t want to work with any beekeeper who cuts corners or ignores bee health so we visit each of our beekeepers to see where the bees live and to make sure the beekeeper has similar values to us and puts bee health first. Not only does this mean they have to look after their bees well but also the place they and the bees live.
Our small-scale beekeepers are one of the best defences we have against ‘progress’ as we lose more and more wildflowers and trees to development and modern day farming. All of our beekeepers care deeply about the landscape their bees inhabit. To help their bees they bring ancient woodlands back to life, work with landowners and developers to bring in bee-friendly practices, plant meadows, and tend to gardens keeping them full of pollinator friendly plants.
All of our beekeepers are great advocates and custodians of our natural world, and our mission is to help them and their bees to survive and thrive. And then we will too!
KNOWING WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM
It’s also important that each of our beekeepers can tell us exactly which bees each honey we buy from them comes from – it means we work with small scale and hobbyist beekeepers and not with the UK’s largest bee farmers as the scale of their operations means they are selling honey in bulk, combining all the honey form all their bees across thousands of hives and a large area into large vats ready for sale to the larger brands. Of course it’s still honey, just that the unique flavours of each honey that went into the vat are lost. These are the flavours we keep so you can discover their variety and complexity and wonder at what our bees can do!