Horsham Downs beekeepers well placed in national awards

Martin, Stephanie and boys, with their feline friend

Hearty congratulations to Horsham Downs beekeepers Stephanie and Martin Lynch, who have picked up third place in the 2011 Farmers’ Markets NZ Awards, in the From the Kitchen Bench category.

Stephanie says they are delighted to be recognized in the Taste NZ Farmers Markets Awards

“It’s great to be involved with the Farmers Market, we love the face-to-face contact with customers, and many become good friends.”

The couple shifted to Horsham Downs in 2002 and harvest around four tonnes of honey a year, trading as Sweetree Honey – formerly known as Vitality Bee Products.

“Martin had been a hobbyist for some years before we realised that bee hives could actually help diversify our income.  We have gradually increased to just under 100 hives now, from three Waikato sites including here in Horsham Downs.”

They never mix honey from different locations.  “One of the things Martin has learned as a hobbyist is 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.”

As a result, she says, each apiary location has its own special nuance and character.

“This is reflected in the honey when you come to taste it – there are some wonderfully diverse flavours and textures, including caramel, butter and even  hints of pepper.”

Both are involved in every aspect of the business, from bee husbandry, to harvesting, processing, packing and point of sale.  Sons Daniel, eight, and Matthew, six, take a keen interest in the process.

Sweetree Honey products can be bought at the Hamilton Farmers Market and, on the third Saturday of every month, from the Tamahere Country Market.

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