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Saturday, November 12, 2022

‘Nature all the time has its approach’: meet the keeper of 70 million honey bees | Made with love

It’s summertime within the heather hills of north Wales the place bee farmer David Wainwright and his multitude of bees are busy making what’s extensively thought-about a number of the greatest honey within the UK. Its success, says Wainwright, is down to 1 key piece of data: the bees are in cost.

“What I’ve realized over my 50 years of being a bee farmer is that nature all the time has its approach,” he says. “My job right here is to reinforce nature’s approach, which implies trusting the bees.”

His journey into beekeeping started aged 17 in Hertfordshire, after an opportunity assembly with a beekeeper. Helping this beekeeper, he realized his commerce within the area earlier than shopping for his first two hives, and later spending six years learning conventional bee-keeping strategies amongst farmers in Kabompo, in north-west Zambia.

In the present day, Wainwright manages apiaries on 70 farms throughout Britain, from Denbighshire and Shropshire to Wiltshire and Essex, with the bees foraging on the whole lot from wildflowers and rapeseed to willowherb, heather and borage.

Quote - “Nature always has its way. My job is to enhance it, which means trusting the bees
Close up of bees

“The totally different colors, textures and flavours of the honey all rely on the place the bees have foraged,” says Wainwright. “Some farms, for instance, have avenues of lime bushes that present heat, tropical-tasting honey, others have an abundance of dandelions, which creates a shiny yellow honey with a richer style.”

Wainwright works with M&S farms internet hosting beehives that produce Choose Farms British Honey for M&S – largely in Herefordshire, the place bees thrive on a wealthy provide of nectar from the various fruit farms. Every jar is marked with the farm it’s from and what the bees have ate up.

“There are all types of various flavours in these jars, which differ yr to yr,” says Wainwright. “The label tells you the story behind every explicit apiary. In addition to the fruit and flowers, bees forage on oak and candy chestnut bushes.”

In pollinating crops, the bees assist guarantee farmers take pleasure in wholesome harvests, making a symbiotic relationship between the 2. Wainwright and the farmers work to the identical moral requirements, championing an “animal and biodiversity first” philosophy. They produce honey in step with the “M&S Accountable Bee Farming Normal”, whereas all M&S British growers are Linking Surroundings and Farming (LEAF) Marque-certified, following pollinator-friendly farming practices.

Beekeeper in the field
Close up of bees

“The actually necessary factor is to look after the bees,” says Wainwright, who has greater than 70 million to take care of. “I’ve realized through the years that with out agitation and stress, the bees will develop to be a powerful and wholesome colony that produces extra honey. So we all the time work as slowly and as gently as attainable when dealing with these delicate dwelling creatures.”

This yr, Wainwright is producing three new honeys for M&S: Welsh Border Honey from Shropshire, a conventional “Winnie-the-Pooh sort” largely from clover; barely spicy, fragrant Salisbury Plain Honey; and Crunchy Welsh Heather Honey, from the heather-laden hills of north Wales.

This crunchy Welsh honey is uncommon – and certainly one of Wainwright’s favourites. “Some honeys change into easy and buttery within the jar, others go arduous and have to be chiselled on to the spoon,” he says. “However this begins as a liquid then units over time, producing crystals that change into suspended within the honey. It creates a particular, crunchy texture with a deep aroma. We’re so very happy with it.”

The honey, he says, has a “strong flavour with just a little bitterness”. If you put it in your mouth it melts. “If I’m going to have a little bit of bread and honey, that’s what I’ll go for,” says Wainwright. “Actually, I largely take pleasure in it straight out of the jar with a spoon.”

M&S Honey packshot

This isn’t simply honey …
… that is M&S Choose Farms British Honey, made with love by Wainwright and M&S. Discover it at your local M&S foodhall.

M&S Meals is proud to be sponsoring the Finest Producer class on the 2023 Observer Meals Month-to-month Awards. M&S has a ardour for provenance, and works with the most effective growers, suppliers and makers within the business, all of whom share its excessive requirements. Discover out extra about M&S Select Farms producers

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