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Scottish bee farming company creates market buzz - pure honey health qualities akin to Manuka
Scottish bee farming company creates market buzz - pure honey health qualities akin to Manuka

30/08/2018

A pioneering approach to farming of pure heather honey across Scotland has led to the country’s first ever apprentice in the sector while the pure honey produced has also been proven to contain health and healing qualities akin to New Zealand’s Manuka honey.
 
The Scottish Bee Company was set up with the aim of boosting the country’s dwindling bee population and increasing pollination as well as grow employment opportunities for bee farmers and help generate a rise in the export of Scottish products.

Within just over six months of the start-up business being launched by husband and wife team, Suzie and Iain Millar, the company has not only created Scotland’s first bee farming apprentice but already spread its geographical reach by securing contracts with The House of Bruar in Perthshire, IJ Mellis across Scotland, and into Cumbria, England.  

The rapidly-evolving success of the Edinburgh-based, purpose-driven firm within such a short time has surpassed Mr and Mrs Millar’s expectations.
 
Suzie said: "We founded the company out of a love for the environment as we were saddened by the continually documented decline in the Scottish bee population. Along with dwindling bee numbers, it is also astonishing how much honey consumed in the UK is imported from around the world. We felt strongly that we needed more, home-grown, bee-friendly honey.
 
"But while we recognised this, never did we expect so many people to appreciate this too and for the business to take off so quickly.” 
 
The Scottish Bee Company has bee hives located all over Scotland from Dumfriesshire, the Lothians and Stirlingshire to Fife and Aberdeenshire. Initially, they produced a premium Scottish heather honey but quickly went on to add blossom honey to the offering with smaller jars of both and cut comb due to be launched. 
 
Company director, Iain, said that heather honey also has been proven to have the same super powers as the highly-regarded and desirable New Zealand Manuka honey: "Manuka honey has long been acknowledged for its health and healing properties but recent studies by the University of Glasgow have discovered that honey from bees in the Scottish Highlands is as effective in treating a number of infections and conditions.   
 
"We reinvest proceeds into the rearing of the managed bee colonies which are so vital for the pollination they provide. Ultimately, we felt we could assist our local bee population while enjoying all the health benefits of a luxury Scottish honey.” 
 
Newly-appointed apprentice Katie Warwick, who previously worked as a gardener after gaining her RHS Level Two Qualification in Horticulture in 2012 from Capel Manor College in London’s Enfield area, contacted company to find out more about bee farming after learning about the business’s work.
 
She said: "Being in gardens almost all day every day for the past seven years, I watched bees with fascination and have always been an advocate of using plants that attract as many pollinators as possible. So, when I read about The Scottish Bee Company, I was keen to find out how I could help become involved.”
 
"We’re excited to welcome Katie to the team,” said Suzie. "Apprenticeships have proven to be successful at creating jobs and skills for other sectors and when Katie approached us, we contacted the British Bee Farming Association, which is sponsored by Rowse Honey, to see how we could bring Katie on board. As a result and with their support, we were able to create an apprenticeship.
 
"Katie’s passion for bees and the outdoors also extends beyond her vocation. As someone who grew up in London but whose family come from Scotland, she is a keen Munro bagger so she has spent plenty of time among the heather! Our aim is to sponsor further bee-farming apprenticeships in the future to encourage more people into the bee farming community."
 
The Scottish Bee Company, which uses only recycled or recyclable packaging, also supports local bee farmers and has hired an expert team to help the industry grow. Together, they are working towards producing uniquely flavourful honeys that evoke a sense of Scotland’s unspoiled wilderness. 
 

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