Helping The Bee Team with their 'honey exploits' we are very fortunate to have Mr Tett, our Beekeeping Buddy, who has supported our bee project since the beginning. Mr Tett, is MAD about showing honey, so has been a wonderful mentor to the children over the years, teaching them how to triple filter the show honey, ensure there is no dust in jars and that 'you can see your face' in the honey when it is all done!!
(I won't say it out loud, but life is a little bit short for taking dust off the surface with a cocktail stick...and filtering it through ladies tights!! ) but the children have loved it, & it turns out, we are pretty good at it too!
So, this year, we entered our honey into the Kendal Beekeepers, Westmorland Horticultural Society honey class... and the Cumbria Beekeeping Convention Honey Show, where up to 5 associations compete in classes for some frankly HUGE trophies!
The comments from the judges and fellow competitors has been wonderful and we have learnt so much over this past year... (Mrs Harper & I have learnt how awfully messy it all is!)
So why different colours of honey in classes?
It is all down to the time of year and what our bees have been foraging on.
We are very lucky to have Kendal Park Cemetery only a few hundred meters from us (as the bee flies) which is carpeted with crocus early in the season, we took just a few frames of honey out of the hives then, which gave us the lightest honey ever, totally different from the honey harvested later in the year from things like Bramble, clover and Horse Chestnut trees, which was much darker, giving us our 'Medium Honey'
For the 'Set Honey' Classes, it is patience we needed!
All honey will set eventually, some flower sources, such as Heather & Ivy & Dandelion will set almost immediately, but we leave a jar of our honey for a few months or year, until it has naturally granulated, giving a smooth and set honey, (perfect for toast!)