A spur of the moment, last minute decision has brought valuable national publicity to a Wakefield honey producer.

“It was only on the morning of the competition run by the National Beekeepers’ Association, who held their annual conference in Nelson, that my wife Nicky and I decided we should enter some of our products,” says Murray Elwood of Mountain Valley Honey.

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The results were outstanding, with first placings in two sections for their Manuka and Kamahi honey and a second place for their Native Bush, but the Elwoods weren’t altogether surprised to have their products rated so highly by the judges.

“We insist on as little tampering with our product as practically possible, so we know our honey is as pure as can be. We even fill the containers by hand rather than by machine to achieve maximum purity and flavour,” says Nicky.

Murray’s dad, Merv, was a Brightwater apiarist who once asked his son for help in the business of handling hives. “I said I was allergic to bees so dad made one sting me on the leg. I swelled up so much I couldn’t get my boot on … and since then I’ve never looked back,” says Murray.

He took over dad’s pollination business and about four years ago we decided to buy Ray Cannell’s established honey-making business, Mountain Valley Honey.”

The Elwoods have placed hives in the Marlborough Sounds to source popular and tasty native tree and bush flowers, including delicious Manuka and Kamahi.

Murray says honey is the only natural food that doesn’t spoil and all the time it is being credited as a promoter of good health.

Mountain Valley Honey sells its produce through the Saturday morning market in Nelson, fresh choice Nelson, to health food and whole food shops throughout New Zealand and has become part of fresh choice Richmond’s popular Go Local marketing arrangement. “Gary Watson has been supportive of our business and it seems a lot of locals really do prefer to buy products from their own region because they have confidence in the source and quality,” says Murray.