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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dawkins

Mānuka Orchard – Helping Beekeepers Take Control

  ADVERTORIAL: MĀNUKA ORCHARD

While many beekeepers might be having difficulty selling their mānuka honey, Mānuka Orchard’s honey improvement services are booked out weeks in advance and they are seeing client’s honey sell. Owner Logan Bowyer gets great satisfaction from not just helping honey producers connect with honey buyers, but by first helping them add value to their product, before realising it.

While offers of $6 or $7 a kilogram for this season’s bush honey crop might be forthcoming, accepting them straight off the bat may not be prudent, Bowyer warns beekeepers.

Mānuka Orchard owner Logan Bowyer advises beekeepers to think twice before selling new season honey which could add value to their existing honey stocks.

“Now is the time to be sitting down with somebody who knows what they are talking about and assessing what your honey looks like on paper to buyers and thinking about the alternative options available to you, rather than just leaving your old honey in storage. If you have qualities in your new honey that can make your older honey A-grade and ready for sale, you are probably better to do that first,” Bowyer advises.

At Mānuka Orchard they grade the honey held at their Bay of Plenty storage facility as either A, B or C grade. A-grade is fully-tested honey that meets the specifications of all markets around the world, B-grade is fully-tested but not fully-compliant, while C-grade honey is untested and therefore an unknown quantity to any potential buyer.

Much of this season’s bush honey that will be sold in the coming months will be used to blend with previous seasons’ mānuka honey stocks to bring both up to a more saleable, and valuable, product. Therefore by selling now, rather than using the honey to mix with their own standing honey stocks, beekeepers are missing out as they let others in the supply chain add the value.

Mānuka Orchard’s 20-tonne blending tank in the Bay of Plenty, which can help beekeepers add value to their honey stocks.

“Test, evaluate and consider all options first,” Bowyer advises.

“Packers are going to produce a certain amount of honey themselves, but most of them do not have a beekeeping operation large enough to produce all the honey they need for the year. So, bank on them using their own A-grade honey first and then in the second half of the year they will be buying in A-grade honey.

Mānuka Orchard has clients who this time last year took valuable steps to proactively manage their stock on hand through the services offered, made sales, and by mid-winter "had their feet up and were sunning themselves”, Bowyer says.

“There’s beekeepers who work closely with us and they are now buying others’ honey to blend and get themselves in the queue to sell, because the honey eventually does sell.”

The Paengaroa-based facility also operates a sales platform, via www.manukaorchard.com, and also through a weekly mail-out to honey buyers detailing what is held at their facility. By getting to A-grade levels of testing and compliance, while also ensuring DHA:MGO ratios are favourable (3:1), honey is at the head of the queue. 


“If any of your stock is less than A-grade, or it doesn’t have that ratio of where the bulk of the buying is happening, then the first thing you should do is look within your own stock and assess whether there is anything you can do with your new honey to freshen up your old stocks,” Bowyer says.

Honey buyers come knocking wanting honey at short notice and on a short turnaround time, and so honey needs to be ready to go ahead of time.

“We often are not given time by the buyer to test and blend and we don’t always have the capacity to blend at short notice, because we have a production schedule booked in advance,” Bowyer explains.

Now is therefore the time to act and, while he and his team at Mānuka Orchard are ‘all hands to the pump’ at present, Bowyer says there is always time to help more beekeepers realise the value in their honey.

“There are sales to be had,” he points out, adding “you just have to know how to hunt them down and be proactive to make it work.”


 

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