With all the hype around honey at the moment – and the allegedly questionable purity of some store-bought brands – there’s nothing sweeter than buying one of nature’s true superfoods straight from the source.
Mark Giffen has bee-n the business of producing honey from his backyard hives for almost a decade and for the past year-and-a-half has been selling the golden goodness at the Handmade in the Hunter Markets under the brand of Largs Honey.
While he spends his days keeping things in tip-top condition as part of a busy maintenance crew at Tyrrell's Wines at Pokolbin, much of his spare time is consumed by the challenging task of caring for a collection of 15 hives at his Largs property.
“I moved to Largs almost ten years ago, and my neighbour had bees,” Mark said.
“We soon became very good friends, and it wasn't long before I had hives in my yard as well.
“We currently have 15 hives in various stages of producing honey. The amount of honey collected in a year depends upon rainfall and weather.
“The biggest challenge is having enough time for everything; juggling a full-time job while still inspecting the hives for pests, collecting the honey, bottling it and delivering to customers.”
The health benefits of honey are well documented throughout history, with countless records of its therapeutic uses for everything from eye and throat infections to being a popular treatment for wounds and skin infections.
These days however it is more commonly found on a menu than it is in the medicine cabinet and is popular both consumed as a condiment or used as an ingredient in other recipes for its rich, sweet flavours and silky smooth texture.
Largs Honey sells a range of raw, unprocessed honey, with flavours ranging from natural honey straight from the hive, to more interesting combinations including creamed honey, creamed ginger, macadamia honey and lavender honey.
Mark has been taking his wares to the Handmade in the Hunter Markets since April 2017 after being invited by organiser Karen Rowe to take up a stall.
“Karen invited me out to give it a try, and we received plenty of good feedback and encouragement to keep coming back,” Mark said.
“Everyone has a different palate, but a lot of people seem to enjoy what our little ladies (the bees) produce and we continually play with different tastes.”
The Handmade in the Hunter Markets are held in the grounds of Kevin Sobels Wines, with the next events to be held on November 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 9am to 3pm each time. For more information visit