Making money, honey: Northland apiaries, making honey on your own land
The rise in popularity of Northland apiaries is not surprising, considering the continually rising cost of honey! We’re a sweet-loving nation, and our love affair with this glorious golden sweetener is legendary. It makes perfect sense then, that more and more Northland landowners are looking into having their own apiaries: being relatively cheap to set up, fairly easy to maintain, and with the results fetching a premium at local farmers markets, home-based honey farms are the way to go!
Researching new and inventive ways to make money from your land is how many rural lifestyle block owners spend much of their time. From orchards to small holdings, from boutique livestock breeds to organic herb farming: the local market is becoming more accessible, and people’s tastes are definitely leaning towards locally grown, locally sourced, and naturally organic products. Northland’s climate lends itself beautifully to small holdings and lifestyle block produce: but what about honey production? Is it possible to make money from your own honey production on a lifestyle block? Let’s take a quick look at the facts.
- How much space will I need for my hives to be successful?
Well, according to the experts, you’ll be wanting to keep at least 5 feet clear around the entrance of the hive, but to be extra safe, make it 10 feet. This also applies to the spacing between hives. As far as land size goes, your bees will travel in search of their own nectar sources, so it’s not necessary to have a large tract of land for them to forage on.
- What gear will I need to have my own beehives?
Local home-based bee-keeping expert Barney Mackie of Beekeeping Supplies Northland is a great advocate for DIY beekeepers, and his website is treasure-trove of information for the keen home apiarist. According to Barney, the DIY beekeeper will need the following supplies to get up and running:
If you’re making your own beehive:
- A base board
- A brood box
- A honey super
- 20 frames
- A lid
- A queen excluder
- Stainless steel frame wire
- A hive stand
- Cotton, hooded suit, or at least a veil and clothing that covers your arms and legs. Avoid dark or woolly material – bees do not like it.
- Thick gloves
- Bee smoker – you may find a bigger one is easier to keep lit
- A hive tool
- Bee brush
- Top feeder
- Clean spray bottle to fill with syrup
- How much honey will my hive produce?
This is another question answered by Barney – and the while results will naturally vary from area to area, the answer is astounding. NZ hives can produce anywhere up to 100kgs of honey in one year! That’s a lot of honey for home use, so the opportunities for resale are real. Farmers markets, craft fairs and community galas all lend themselves to the sale of your home-based honey yield, and with supermarket honey prices becoming more and more prohibitive, there’s never been a better time to get creative!
- Can I sell my own honey?
According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, you will need to follow set guidelines when it comes to actually accepting payment or trade for your honey products:
Bee products, including honey, that are produced for domestic consumption, may be produced under the requirements of the Food Act.
You must also meet the requirements of the:
- Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code which covers labelling and composition of food in New Zealand
- Food Standards for honey.
Also, if you’re looking at labelling and selling your products at markets or fairs, you’ll need to be aware of a few more points:
- Giving honey to, or swapping it for produce with, your friends and family, is not regulated under the Food Act.
- Bartering honey as part of a financial transaction and giving away samples of honey for promotional purposes are forms of sale and subject to regulation under the Food Act.
- If you operate under the Food Act, you do not need a Risk Management Programme (RMP)
It would pay to read the entire act, just to be aware of your rights and regulations when it comes to selling your own honey products. Read the entire legislation surrounding processing and selling bee products in New Zealand
In short, if you’re thinking of making the best use of your land, keeping your own bees is definitely a popular – and relatively easy – option. You’ll not only be supporting the healthy growth of our bee populations, but you’ll also be encouraging cross pollination: it’s a win-win situation! Add value to your Northland land with a DIY apiary, a delicious option for home industry.
Contact the team at goodGround to view the latest northland properties for sale, or to learn more about home industries on lifestyle blocks!