All for the Good of the Hive

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4 min read

We never get tired of watching our bees. As beekeepers, we get a special insight into the complex work they do. But one thing never fails to impress us — everything bees do is always for the good of the hive. Most people think of a bee’s main task as collecting nectar to make honey, but there is so much more going on. Bees have fascinating social structures and incredibly specialised jobs. Individual honeybees cannot survive without the colony, and a healthy hive relies on all the bees working together in a variety of important roles. When you see an individual bee flying about, she’s never really alone. She’s actually in constant communication with her hive. Although individuals have different tasks, these are all synchronised and they may change according t

Honey Makes the Heart Grow Warmer

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3 min read

Everyone loves a bit of comfort food to help stave off those wintry chills. And nothing beats coming home to the sweet scent of home baking. For extra delicious aromas in your kitchen, and a rich, homely taste, our Baker’s Honey is just the thing. Baker’s Honey has been around for a long time. Created during the extraction process, this honey is a blend of all our varieties of native New Zealand honey. Not a single drop of our beautiful honey is wasted because at the end of the extraction process we gather any honey that is left from the waxy frames or has dripped into catch trays. This becomes our Bakers Honey. Unlike our other honey (which are all raw and unpasteurized) Baker’s Honey has been heated to separate it from the wax remnants. This makes the hon

9 Things you Might not Know about Beekeepers

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5 min read

We are very proud to be beekeepers and — as you’ve probably worked out by now — we go to great lengths to care for our bees. We have to admit though, our profession can seem a bit comical at times, and many people are not exactly sure what we do. There are quite a few myths relating to beekeepers. Our team decided it would be fun to make a list of some of the quirkier aspects of our job. 1. Bee suits are white for a very good reasonIf you’ve ever wondered why beekeepers’ suits are always white, it’s not just because they are cooler in summer. The bees also react strongly to dark colours and are more likely to become defensive. This is because their natural predators tend to be darker in colour. Although white suits might show the dirt, it is preferable to being ch

Rising to the Challenge of a Tricky Summer

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4 min read

If your summer holidays were disrupted by unpredictable weather this year then spare a thought for the bees. Although the season got off to a cracking start, the wind and rain just kept coming back. And that’s not much fun when you’re as small as a bee. Luckily, we have a great team that always manages to deal with sticky situations.From a bee’s point of view, this summer was a tricky one. Not only was there limited  ‘fly time,’ but flowering was a problem too. Unsettled conditions meant that many of our bees’ favourite floral sources didn’t flower at the right time or hardly flowered at all. While Kāmahi is usually an abundant source of nectar, even that harvest was very light this year. Mānuka was also affected by bad weather around Christmas time.

Shhh! It’s a Bit of a Secret, but Kānuka Honey is Fabulous Too

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4 min read

While the world continues its love affair with Mānuka honey, the delights of Kānuka, its close cousin, are still a bit of a well-kept secret. It’s almost as if we Kiwis have agreed to keep Kānuka all to ourselves. That won’t last forever though — people are catching on fast.Before Mānuka honey became so wildly popular, nobody really distinguished much between Mānuka and Kānuka honey — even though they come from different plants. In spite of the fact that these plants flower at slightly different times, back then beekeepers didn’t keep a close eye on flowering. It is also difficult to distinguish between them in a lab, because the pollen looks almost identical under the microscope. To the untrained tongue, these honeys also taste quite alike, a

Nothing Beats our Local Market for Colour and Friendliness

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4 min read

We love being part of the Nelson Market community — somehow local markets and honey just seem to belong together. Even if our little stall has been somewhat quieter over the last couple of years, we still enjoy being part of such a vibrant scene.With over 15 years as market stallholders, we really get a buzz from the friendly bustling atmosphere  — even if it does mean getting up at the crack of dawn or setting up in the rain! These days we are very fortunate that Nicky’s dad, Larry, has taken on the stall on a regular basis, sharing week about with Murray. Arriving around 6.20 am, Larry has become one of the local characters.  Larry reckons it takes him nearly an hour to set up the gazebo and unpack our range of New Zealand honey. That’s mostly

Native Bush Honey Captures the Essence of the New Zealand Bush

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4 min read

At Mountain Valley Honey, long treks into the bush are part of the job — and one of the best perks! If you’ve been lucky enough to wander in the Marlborough Sounds, or take one of the many walks in the beautiful Mt. Richmond Forest Park, then you’ll have a good idea of the breathtaking bush landscapes where our honey originates. These wilderness places are not just perfect for people who want to get away from it all, they also make fantastic locations for our bees. Far from urban noise, these hideaway worlds are rich with floral sources. All of our honeys have their own personality, but none captures the essence of the New Zealand bush quite like our Native Bush Honey. Just like your typical Kiwi bush walk, this honey has a little bit of everything — including the my

Cherishing the Little Things

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4 min read

Christmas is such a special time. It gives us a chance to take a moment to pause and appreciate what makes life important. For us, the Christmas spirit is all about love and hope and cherishing the little things, especially after such a frustrating year.  Our second Christmas dealing with Covid means that many of us Kiwis are missing loved ones more than ever. Kindness and the support of others have never been more important in this crazy world. We are truly grateful for the kindness of our family, friends and customers who have seen us through some pretty hard times this year.We always say it’s the little things that count, and this has never been more true than in 2021. Like most small businesses, Covid has hit us with a number of challenges. The indirec

Our Enduring Fascination with Honeybees

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4 min read

People sometimes ask us why we love working with bees so much. We have to admit that part of the answer is that we get to work in some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. But the real reason lies with the bees themselves. To be honest, we’re completely captivated by these charming little creatures.  We’ve lost track of how many beekeepers have said ‘I’ll just give it one season’ and have ended up with a lifelong passion for bees. Murray was exactly the same when he started out. As he puts it, “the bees have a way of getting their hooks into you.” It’s because there are so many cool and clever things about bees — it’s just impossible not to love them!If you spot a bee in your garden there’s a good chance that her hive is around 800 metre

The Secret Life of Beekeepers: What’s Beneath the Suit?

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4 min read

There’s something a little bit mysterious about beekeeping. It’s probably thanks to the bees, and the almost magical way they produce honey. But beekeepers definitely play a role, what with their weird outfits, odd gadgets and strange nocturnal habits.We asked our team to ‘tell all,’ to give our customers a sneak peek into the secret life of the people behind our beautiful New Zealand honey. Beekeeping definitely has its humorous side. Where else do you get to dress up like a cross between ‘The Stig’ and an astronaut? Those suits can be “jolly hot” though, especially in the middle of summer. Our guys often have to trek uphill to reach the hives. Although we always move the bees at night, they say the sweat still pours off them at 3.00am in the mo

Spring is Here and the Bees are Getting Busy!

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3 min read

Spring is definitely in the air in Nelson. The trees are budding and our region is suddenly full of fluffy blossoms and brightly coloured flowers. With the warmer weather you’ll notice that bees are starting to get out and about more, but spring is not without its challenges for these tiny creatures. In springtime we have to take special care of our bee friends. The longer, warmer days mean that our queens are busy increasing egg production. That means the bees need extra food to support their growing numbers.  At this time of the year colonies can grow very quickly, doubling or quadrupling in size in readiness for the summer harvest. While there might seem to be plenty of flowers about, bees can actually starve if they’ve consumed all their winter stores. W

Beekeeping Sure has Changed over the Years!

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5 min read

Whenever our family chats about bees — and that’s very often — we can’t help being amazed at how much beekeeping has changed since Merv started up his little business back in 1968. These days beekeeping is a big deal in New Zealand, with 9,510 registered beekeepers in 2020. But beekeeping certainly wasn’t that popular in Merv’s day. Back then it was a simple enterprise, he remembers, and pretty unpopular. There were only half a dozen beekeepers in the area around that time. Beekeeping was not just hard work, it was hard to make any money back then. Merv didn’t actually bother too much with the honey — that was just for friends. He made his money from providing hives for pollination. Half the time he even forgot to remember to take so

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