A delicious selection of locally produced honeys was available to try at the Kingston Hill campus on Monday 11th February. What a treat for a lunchtime! It was a sure-fire way to put a smile on anyone's face on a Monday!
Molly was beaming when she tasted the honeys on offer!
They say you can get to someone's heart through their stomach, so we were hoping to spread a little love for bees with this event. They are in decline around the world so it is important to raise awareness about the critical role they play in our society. Just think if we didn't have pollinators such as bees what a state our food production system would be in, and how costly the produce would be if it had to all be pollinated by hand?! Not only that, but the beauty of our countryside would suffer, along with the other wildlife that it supports.
We are proudly doing our bit here at Kingston University - our very own beehive at Kingston Hill is maintained by dedicated staff and volunteers throughout the year. We warmly welcome new volunteers to get suited up as beekeeping assistants and were pleased to sign a few more eager people up at our tasting event.
We sourced four delicious and distinctive honeys for the tasting: Park Farm Honey and Upper Mill Honey from the Epsom Beekeepers Association, and Mike & Julie's Honey and Regent Street Honey from the Kingston Beekeepers Association.
A fine selection to choose from - which was your favourite?
Passers by were asked to try, compare and vote for their favourite. We also made notes of particularly descriptive and poetic phrases people used to describe what they tasted!
The only 'set' product available to try, Park Farm Honey was summed up as "heavenly" by the first taster!
Carefully does it - Mike & Julie's Honey was very runny, but the lovely taste was worth it. "Sophisticated, like elderflower wine" was one taster's description!
The Regent Street Honey was very distinctive. It was"perfumed"and some detected notes of lavender.
The Upper Mill Honey was popular with those who preferred runny honey. Some commented on the lovely fragrance, others called it "zingy".
The Kingston Hill beehives require regular checks throughout the year. Over the Winter, Tina - our staff volunteer beekeeper, has ensured our bees have had enough food and that their hive was clear of snow. When the weather warms up, she will start weekly hive checks with volunteers. This involves checking the bees for signs of ill-health, locating the Queen, assessing whether the bees need more space, and generally checking they are behaving as they should and producing food stores and brood...fascinating stuff!
Tina - our staff volunteer beekeeper for the Kingston Hill beehives was on hand to answer any questions.
Unfortunately last year although our bees did produce honey, there was not enough surplus for us to collect any. Bees need 40lbs to see them through the winter. We are hoping to keep our bees healthy and even more productive so that we can harvest some honey this year. Maybe we will be tasting our very own produce in the future!
Another happy customer!
During the event tasters were interested to learn about the importance of bees and to hear about the Kingston Hill beehive. Thanks go to Tina and Paul for sharing their bee expertise with us. Leaflets were handed out giving ideas of how to help bees, these included:
- Buy local honey - By supporting local beekeepers you are supporting local bee populations. Many tasters were keen to buy jars of the honeys they tried - why not get in touch with the Epsom Beekeepers Association or the Kingston beekeepers Association to source your own?
- Create a bee-friendly garden - Provide rich and tasty forage for bees by planting blue single-flowered plants or fruit trees.
- Buy organic - Produce grown organically reduces chemicals that are released into the bees' environment, making both it and them healthier.
If you'd like to find out more why not check out the Kingston Hill beehives blog.
So, back to the tasting. The results are in...drum roll please...
Despite all four honeys being voted favourite for different people throughout the event, one stood out:
Park Farm Honey was the clear favourite - well done Park Farm!