The quality of Stratford's manuka was the biggest selling point behind a Hamilton company's decision to expand its business into Taranaki.
SummerGlow Apiaries owners Bill and Margaret Bennett decided to buy 364 hectares of marginal farmland in the district after they noticed all the manuka in the Stratford area when driving home from a holiday.
The couple, along with their son Allan Bennett and son-in-law James Jeffery, have been tending their newly-established hives over the summer and are so far very happy with the results.
"We haven't had a lot of experience with the Taranaki manuka yet, given that it's only our first season down there, but the quality, density and amount of it is amazing," said Mr Jeffery.
Although the exact location of the hives is something the company keeps close to its chest, their isolation is believed to improve the honey's quality. "If the manuka is the only source of nectar our bees can find, the honey is going to be as pure as it can possibly be," said Mr Jeffery.
SummerGlow Apiaries is a family-owned business which has been selling honey products for more than 35 years from their Te Kowhai base.
The company has about 2000 hives in operation.
Mrs Bennett said a big part of her role in the business was online orders from their website.
"I send honey all over the world," she said.
Mrs Bennett said the move into Taranaki was a long- term commitment and although she and her husband had taken more of a back seat in some aspects of the business it would remain in the family.
"It's a lifestyle and lifetime investment," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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