Golden Flow honey a taste of the sweet life

Matamata Chronicle - - Ru­ral De­liv­ery -

Craw­ford fo­cused on man­ag­ing three work­ers who are in­volved with the hives two years ago.

Var­i­ous work­ers who started with Hooton, and some of the cou­ple’s friends, have been in­spired to start their own bee­keep­ing com­pa­nies.

There are sev­eral other bee­keep­ing com­pa­nies on the same road as Hooton’s com­pany.

The com­pany is based on two acres on Old Te Aroha Rd but most of the bees are in the 2000 hives off-site around the Waikato and as far away as the East Cape at var­i­ous times of the year.

This means that Hooton and his work­ers can be on the road pick­ing up hives all day from five in the morn­ing to mid­night.

Hooton said it was typ­i­cal to do 16 18-hour days.

The hive side of the busi­ness is quiet over win­ter but pack­ag­ing is busier then.

One of the high­lights of Hooton’s bee­keep­ing ca­reer came out of his pas­sion for fish­ing.

Through his mem­ber­ship with the Mata­mata Fish­ing Club he met Vern Hay­den, the then owner of the New World su­per­mar­ket in Mata­mata.

Hay­den sold New World and went to Manukau Pak ’n Save and took Golden Flow’s prod­ucts with him.

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Get­ting Food­stuffs to stock their prod­ucts got them into 17 Pak ’ n Saves around the coun­try.

Ex­port­ing manuka honey is Golden Flow’s big at­trac­tion, as mar­kets all around the world want it, Hooton said.

They pack close to 100 tonnes a year of Kaimai Gold Manuka Honey for over­seas mar­kets.

The re­cent world­wide bee short­age has ben­e­fited Golden Flow as it has boosted the honey price.

But weather is a bee­keep­ers, Hooton said.

‘‘This spring is prob­a­bly the worst we have seen prob­a­bly since Matt has been here, so it’s prob­a­bly the worst spring in eight or nine years.’’ The wind has stopped the bees fly­ing. Queen mat­ing has been very dif­fi­cult be­cause of the wind and the cold cli­mate – they pre­fer 17-18 de­grees Cel­sius.

‘‘We raise 800 queen bees in the spring. Prob­a­bly only 300-400 queens bees have mated.’’

Hooton was hop­ing for a hot De­cem­ber.

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