I want to recommend three London honey producers for you to try, all have been shortlisted for the Urban Food Awards. The Urban Food Awards are delivered in partnership with Borough Market and London Food Link, and it celebrates London’s fantastic small food businesses, products and people.
Bee Naturals, Hive & Keeper and Apicultural are all members of the London Beekeepers’ Association (LBKA). Having joined the LBKA earlier in the year I have met many bee lovers and honey enthusiasts and the LBKA members have been a source of advice and guidance as I learn to look after bees. So please look out for their honey, buy it, taste it, tweet about it, tell your neighbours, enjoy it and celebrate local London Honey and don’t forget to vote for one of these great producers here. It would be great to help celebrate an LBKA honey win! Below are excerpts from each producer’s entry, which I hope helps explain a bit more about who these producers are. They are a lovely bunch and you can read their full write ups on their honey here.
I met the owner of Hive & Keeper at the LBKA beginners beekeeping course, she was one of the organisers and super helpful in answering all my many questions. Her honey London honeys come from “local beekeepers who keep hives either in their own back gardens or in parks, communal gardens, allotments or on land owned by businesses, keen to support London’s biodiversity. The honey’s provenance is important, as is preserving each one’s unique character, so each jar is specific to one hive and apiary, and one beekeeper, as a result they’re all small batches of each honey, of between 20 and 70 jars each season. Each honey has been filtered only once to remove bits of wax and bee nothing else. Honey is a result of the close relationship between bees, landscape, forage and weather, and with over a million visits to London’s flowers making a jar of honey it’s easy to see why each is impossible to replicate. It’s this uniqueness and variety of British honey that Hive & Keeper celebrates”.
Apicultural is run by an LBKA member who gave me advice on how corporate companies can help save bees and he is an expert on planting flowers and plants in urban areas. He manages his bees “in a way that is as near to organic as possible, not reliant on chemicals and works with the bees natural rhythms. The honey is only cold filtered, never pasteurized. Our comb honey is raw straight from the hive as natural as it comes. Nando’s use honey from our Putney apiary blended with Chilli to create chilli honey for use in their restaurants as an alternative to sugar based sweet chilli sauces. The honey produced is complex in taste and aroma and represents the best of London’s green spaces”.
The owner of Bee Naturals spoke at the LBKA beginner course that I went on and came to the rescue by lending me a bee suit when mine didn’t arrive before a hive inspection I was due to go on. His honey come from “hives in SE London, with nothing added. We simply harvest and filter before jarring, so you receive our honey exactly the way our honey bees made it. After harvesting the honey we then clean and filter the beeswax for use in our natural beeswax polish range, nothing wasted! Our local honey not only looks and tastes great, but was awarded London Beekeeper Of The Year status at the 2015 London honey show. All our products are produced sustainably and contain only natural ingredients, and our honey, well? It contains nothing but the honey our bees made! Paul Vagg has overcome extreme adversity to succeed as a beekeeper due to his physical disabilities and deafness, yes despite this adversity is committed, responsible and ethical in not only the production of bee naturals produce, but in community outreach and involvement”.