We went to dinner last night and I remembered that the couple we were meeting liked honey so I detrermined – and was successful – to remember to take a jar of honey. It was one of just 3 remaining from last year so I certainly viewed it as precious.
I asked my husband to remind me not to leave it in the car – again, success.
And as we sat down, I offered the jar rather than forget it was in my capacious handbag. Mo was delighted. The jar was placed on the table. The waiter and waitress who visited our table separately were in transports of delight when they saw the honey. ‘Oh wow – that is the really good stuff, isn’t it? Bet that cost a lot’ (I of course babbled on that it was the very best local honey around and reminded them that local honey was in a different league to the blended honey from supermarkets).
However, the awe and reverence of each of these people was something quite new. They KNEW that a bee only creates about a twelfth of a spoon in its lifetime. THEY told ME that in Waitrose Beaconsfield there are jars costing £40. Is there? Really? In my mind I am setting the cost of my honey just that little bit higher and thanking all those subtle comments from people like Sarah Raven, Kat Humble and I gather Rachel of the Little Paris Kitchen.
I wasn’t so happy about one of the other comments. I call my honey Chiltern honey. Partly because it is (and I checked it all out with Chiltern District trading standards). Partly because putting Buckinghamshire honey means it either takes up loads of room or needs a small font. Apparently there is a company calling its manufactured foods Chiltern this and Chiltern that so people might think my honey is part of their empire rather than the exclusive, single apiary quality product I say it is.
You can’t win them all.
PS, yes, the picture on the jar is a view across the gardens my bees roam, taken from the balcony when a hot air balloon caught my eye.
PPS the Bees for development tamper proof labels goes on all my jars so far. It seems an excellent charity building on the idea of ‘give a man food and you feed him for a day give him seed/ a spade and you feed him for life’. Their aim is to help people keep bees in 3rd world countries but then also help them get it to a market that pays a fair price. It seems to me that getting more honey out there, more insects to pollinate crops as well as providing an industry that through swarms can spread is a charity that most beekeepers can respect.