Golden Flow honey a taste of the sweet life
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.
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.