I love bees. As well as being vital to the way our world and food system works, they’re intelligent, beautiful, ridiculously fascinating creatures and they make honey, which is delish.
It’s one of my life goals to have my own hive one day, but sadly I have zero outdoor space right now (not even a roof or a balcony #London). One day I will command a GIANT ARMY OF BEES and send them to my enemies and – OK I’ve gone off topic.
While you sadly can’t subscribe to actual bees yet, you can subscribe to London beekeeper Curtis, aka Local Honey Man. He founded LHM to help save the British honeybee, and now offers subscriptions to the honey-based spoils.
LHM’s subscription boxes come with fresh honeys to try, plus bee-related freebies and the knowledge that you’re helping honeybees.
“As ethical beekeepers we breed and raise honeybees, support local bee farmers and promote awareness about the wonder of this incredible insect and importance of pure and raw honey.”
LHM already sells honey and even bees, but you can now subscribe to the raw honey their 255 hives produce and get a bee-themed treat in the post every month. Plus, of course, you’re helping the furry little dudes thrive.
There are four subscription levels with joyously bee-themed names:
And although they get pretty pricey, if you’re not in the money honey, you can subscribe less often – weekly, fortnightly, monthly and quarterly.
I spoke to LHM to find out more, because I wasn’t passing up an opportunity to talk to someone about bees.
Gadgette: How is raw honey different/superior to what you’d find in a supermarket? Does it taste different?
LHM: Our raw honey is honey (nectar from flowers) that is pure, raw, unheated, unpasteurised and coarse filtered. This is perhaps one of the most important characteristics and health benefits of the final product, as it preserves all the natural vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrients and other nutritional elements. The taste is exactly as our honeybees intended it to be. Supermarket honey tends to taste like sugar syrup.
Most honey today that you buy in a supermarket is pasteurised (heat treated to 161 Fahrenheit or higher) – two main reasons for this are to stop fermentation and to be able to strain it: the modern market likes its honey completely smooth. To get honey that is the same as the honey from the hive, you should buy honey that is not heated during extraction. Most cheap supermarket honey contains a legal percentage of added syrup but can still be classed as honey.
– Does London honey have any particular characteristics – does pollution affect it at all, for instance? I remember the blue honey from those bees near an M&M factory.
London has a lot of parks and gardens and the long flowering season of its diverse plants gives London’s honey its characteristic complex taste. In early summer the honey in London tends to be multi-floral, lighter and delicate tasting and gets darker and richer tasting as summer progresses.
As well as the honey, what kinds of ‘bee gifts’ can you expect? This sounds exciting!
Samples of our new honeys, we have a new range of infused honeys which are proving very popular such as lemon zest & ginger and soon to be launched black seed honey. Plus free handmade candles and other bee by-products.
What are the shipping charges?
Bee Humble, Bee Keen and Bee Lavish are £4.60 and Bee Indulgent the postage is free.
[Tip: If you’re on a budget, it might be smart to go for a bigger delivery less often to save on postage]
What can people like me do to support bees? I can’t have a hive myself, but I want to help
We are on a mission to save the British honeybee. As ethical beekeepers we breed and raise honeybees, support local bee farmers and promote awareness. We treat our honeybees as nature intended, not clipping the queen’s wings and where possible feeding our honeybees with honey.
The decline of the honeybee is mostly due to changes in farming practices which affects the honeybee’s food sources meaning there are fewer wildflowers in the landscape than there used to be. Each and every one of us can play a part in saving the honeybee by planting a wide variety of flowers, plants and herbs that bees and other pollinating insects can feed off to help reverse their decline.
We are passionate about sharing our love for beekeeping. We sell honeybees and offer courses for those that love honeybees and care about our environment.
Every jar bought from the Local Honey Man helps us to establish more beehives in the UK, in turn helping us to reverse the decline of nature’s wonder the honeybee.
What does Local Honey Man suggest for other citydwellers who might like to start beekeeping? Is there a course or book he recommends?
The best way is to do a practical course as you need hands on experience. We run beekeeping courses at one of our apiary sites so you can handle bees with our experienced tutor. This introduction will enable you to benefit from a basic understanding of what becoming a beekeeper will entail before you make the investment in equipment and honeybees.
A good book to read is by Ted Hooper, Bees and Honey.
[I also really enjoyed The Bee Book, which isn’t about beekeeping so much as bees in general. It’s fascinating]
Until I can get my own bees, this is a good way to help the little fuzzy dudes out and get some yummy honey out of it too. I can’t wait to try proper London honey – bet I won’t want to go back to the squeezy stuff.
You can find out more, subscribe or just learn about bees on Local Honey Man’s website.
In a subscription-box sort of mood now? Check out our roundup of the 15 best in the UK.