During September (National Honey Month) we will be profiling some of our customers and beekeepers we know. Read more about Openhive honey. OpenHive sells locally-produced Irish honey from apiaries in Dublin, Wicklow and Kerry.
What type of honeys do you produce? What is their primary source? Do you sell comb honey, section honey, or liquid honey?
We produce a few different types of honeys; soft set oilseed rape honey, summer blossom honey (from nine different apiaries) and heather honey. We sell a small amount of comb honey, but we haven’t really found the right packaging as a sustainable replacement for the commonly used plastic containers.
Is pure Irish honey likely to be scarce this year?
We had a great year in terms of honey production, our best yet. But as always, Ireland is a net importer of honey so we can never produce enough to match the current demand.
How have you found this year for forage?
We had a good start on the oilseed rape down in Wicklow which set our hives up nicely for the spring flow. We found that the season was slow to get started but then it burst into activity in July. In our urban apiaries we didn’t really notice a June gap, which was fantastic. The heather harvest went really well for us. We were down in Wicklow for that but know of other beekeepers who had mixed experiences.
What is your best bit of beekeeping advice?
Find a mentor and learn from them. Beekeeping can be hard when things aren’t going your way. As many beekeepers say – ‘the bees don’t always read the same books we do!”. Having a firm sounding board – someone with real practical experience – is priceless.
What is the biggest challenge for beekeepers?
We think in Ireland it can be the weather. Like all farming, a lot rides on getting good spells of weather at the right times. This year things went mostly to plan but last year was a disaster.
In which county do you keep your honey producing colonies?
Seven of our apiaries are in Dublin. We also have two in Wicklow and one in Meath.
Where can customers buy your honey?
Our customers can buy from a range of local delicatessens in South County Dublin or they can buy directly from our website www.openhive.ie
For how many years have you been selling honey?
We have been selling honey for 3 years now as OpenHive.
We were delighted this season as Jack McGrath (Ulster and Ireland Rugby) came on board with us. He has brought a great energy to what we do and we are lucky to have him join the set up. We expanded our team this year with one full time intern and four other volunteers. It was a great learning community and we look forward to growing the team again next year.
We’ve been very fortunate to have partnered with some great brands like Powers Whiskey and The Devlin Hotel which has allowed us to do so much more interesting work, especially regarding conservation of the Apis Mellifera Mellifera honeybee.
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