#NationalHoneyWeek

26 October 2018
This week has been #NationalHoneyWeek and Cywain is fortunate enough to be working alongside many hard-working beekeepers all over Wales who collectively contribute a huge amount to the growing Welsh honey sector.
 
Let us tell you a little more about them:
 
Two years ago, Shane Llewelyn Jones was selling his fresh honey at the Cywain stall in the Royal Welsh Winter Fair foodhall. His business had no name and no branding but through market research conducted over those crucial two days, the public played a huge part in bringing The Bee Welsh Honey Company to life and he has since won the best in show prize for his honey and his business is thriving. 

Cywain caught up with him just before this year's Royal Welsh Show. Watch his story by clicking the link above. 
 
Their award-winning Welsh honey is gathered in Carmarthenshire from surrounding wildflowers with each colony specially selected ensuring quality remains throughout. Their Welsh honey is filtered delicately three times without heat and bottled on site ensuring that the quality of the product remains pure and raw, naturally rich in pollen just as nature intended straight out of the beehive.
 
Cilgwenyn Farm now host the Bee Free Project, a project that encourages and teaches beekeeping to ex-service personnel experiencing mental health problems from their time in service. The project has found that beekeeping can help to overcome the daily problems associated with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and linked problems of anxiety and depression.
 
Gwenyn Gruffydd was founded in 2010 when Gruffydd decided to follow his dream of keeping bees. Gruffydd was kindly given a hive of bees by a friend farming locally and it is from there the dream developed into a reality. Gruffydd enrolled onto a beekeeping course in Carmarthenshire that year and the 1 hive in the back of his mum and dad's garden quickly multiplied into around 60 hives, dotted around several locations in Carmarthenshire 6 years on.
 
The company’s main mission is to sell raw honey that they produce themselves by their own bees without purchasing in any honey or mixing their honey with anybody's else's. Gwenyn Gruffydd strive to sell raw honey of the highest quality on the market.
 
Based in the borough of Wrecsam, Border Honey is a primary producer of quality British honey from North Wales and the bordering counties of England. The company specialises in supply of bulk honey to honey packers and food/drink businesses which require Welsh/British honey as a product ingredient.
 
A proportion of the company’s local product is set aside for direct sale to consumers at farmers’ markets and food festivals in the region.
 
The company operates from modern purpose-built premises, which were part-funded through Welsh Government’s Food Business Investment Scheme.
 
Particularly important to the company’s activities and future growth is working with farmers, foresters and landowners who are able to provide apiary sites in the area around the North Wales/Shropshire/Cheshire borders and also in the North Wales uplands, where the ling heather plant grows – a source of a unique monofloral honey. If you may be able to provide a suitable site(s), then the company would be pleased to hear from you.
 
Owner Alex Ellis has broad connections within the industry through his activities on behalf of the Bee Farmers’ Association. He is editor of the industry journal Bee Farmer and is also a director of Bee Craft magazine. In addition to the company’s own production activities, it also provides specialist consultancy services to other businesses and organisations operating in the sector.
 
This husband and wife team both have backgrounds in farming, with Chris’ love of bees coming from his Grandfather who was himself a beekeeper. When Chris and his wife, Theresa, aren’t busy buzzing with the bees or making delicious produce, they are kept busy raising the next generation of farmers, their children.
 
Lodge Apiaries supply honey from their hives set around the local countryside giving bees a chance to collect nectar from plants such as heather, sycamore trees, horse chestnut and field beans. They also have some hives placed on a local farm pollinating their rapeseed crop, giving the honey a distinctive taste while at the same time helping the local food industry.
 
Lodge Apiaries honey can be found in Edwards of Conwy Pork and Apple Sausages, in bottles of Mountain Mead as well as Baravelli’s chocolates.
 
Ian Roberts, a beekeeper from Neath, has always shown an interest in beekeeping, and since purchasing Old Castle Farm, a 28-acre farm, 335 metres above sea level over ten years ago, he now owns 26 hives, producing roughly 700lbs of pure, Welsh honey each year.
 
He has since shown a real flair for diversification. Not only is he the producer of high-quality Welsh honey, he also builds and sells beekeeping equipment, ensuring that more interested individuals in rural parts of Wales, the UK and abroad have access to the necessary tools to get themselves started.
 
Ian has also invented the exclusive Sentinel Pro 3D clothing range which, following a year of testing and gathering feedback, has been re-developed, with the new generation clothing going one sale this Christmas.
 
Wenallt Hive bees forage for nectar and pollen across the coastal cwms of Ceredigion with its rolling pastures and meadows interlaced by ancient hedgerows. In late summer some of their bees are taken to the higher heathland of the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire to take advantage of the abundant heather crop. This mix of blossom produces a wonderful honey with a rich depth of flavour.
 
Apart from being enjoyed pure and simple just as it is, Wenallt Hive sets some of their honey aside to create a few special products such as; Whole grain mustards, salad dressings, chutneys and fudge. All made using their own honey whilst the beeswax gives an extra special quality to their range of skin balms and creams.
 
One of Wenallt Hive’s most special products is the Honey Vinegar. Taking over 18 months to make using just Welsh honey, Welsh water and our unique Mother of Vinegar, a gentle fermentation creates a subtle vinegar appreciated, not just for its taste, but also for its natural goodness.
 
Woodland Bees was set up as a business by Selwyn Runnett in 2016, after starting originally as an amateur beekeeper. The business produces natural multi-floral honey from apiaries in rural Carmarthenshire. It sells directly from its own premises, by mail order across the UK and supplies a small number of retail outlets.
 
Selwyn is now planning further expansion and has so far invested in new honey processing equipment, registered a trade mark, and launched a range of branded natural honey at the 2017 Royal Welsh Agricultural Show Winter Fair.
 
Right from the start Selwyn’s approach has been to put sustainable methods of beekeeping and honey production at the centre of what he does. He works closely with landowners and farmers in his local community who are committed to sustainable land management and the creation of habitat-rich meadows and woodlands. He is the Apiary Manager at the Carmarthenshire Beekeepers’ Association and runs training programmes for new beekeepers.

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