Business, Community

Sweet taste of success for honey makers

Taylor Pass Honey Co’s plant supervisor Troy Appleton and operations manager Richard Hopkins. Photo: Paula Hulburt

Honey company staff have tasted victory after scooping four awards at a top national competition.

Taylor Pass Honey Co. won three gold awards and one bronze for their liquid honey, honeycomb and honeydew honey.

They were also awarded two trophies, one for best liquid honey and best comb honey at the 2019 Pi-a-ora Apiculture NZ awards in Rotorua.

For CEO Richard Green, the win was a team effort.

Some of the awards the honey business has recently achieved. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Some of the awards the honey business has recently achieved. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

“This is recognition for the whole team and a credit to the skills of the whole team.

“We’re really proud as our flavours are where we do well; one of our unique selling points is that our flavours are very special”.

With around 40 permanent and part-time staff, including 24 beekeepers, Taylor Pass Honey Co started 27 years ago.

It’s gone from strength to strength exporting honey all over the world.

With 10,500 hives, each housing around 100,000 bees, the company is the biggest honey producer in the South Island.

Operations manager Richard Hopkins says the bees from one hive fly the equivalent of three times around the world during the honey production season.

“They work hard. It’s a little bit of art and a little bit of science. It’s about knowing what the honey is and how it behaves during the creaming process.”

At the packaging plant in Riverlands, the honey goes through a scrupulous filtering system.

From filtering to packaging, around 600kg an hour goes through the process during peak season,

“Each tank holds three tons of honey and it stays there for three to four days to control the crystallization process.

“That’s the art of producing honey and being in control, knowing what the honey is and how it behaves while crystallization occurs,” says Richard.

Each jar of honey can be traced back to a specific hive site.

It is this attention to detail, says Richard that helps make the honey an award-winner.

“A lot of the guys make honey especially for the competition but Taylor Pass won by pulling a sample of the pack line; it’s not one we made specifically.

“They’re all good”.

Plant Supervisor Troy Appleton is an essential team member.

With two seasons behind him, he knows plenty about how the company’s award-winning honey is made.

“It’s down to the bees to do their thing before we do ours.”

The company has partnered with other retailers in town and are selling honey through these outlets including The Vines Village off Rapaura Road.

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