Hive Talkin' with Hoods Honey Posted on 31 Aug 10:00
Earlier this month I went to visit Stuart Hood, the owner of the award winning beekeepers Hoods Honey. Stuart inherited the business from his father, George, who first started making honey in East Lothian in 1950.
George was tutored by Willie Smith of Innerleithen, widely considered to be Scotland's best beekeeper. He is also the designer of the hives used by almost all Scottish beekeepers to this day.
George passed on those skills, as well as the hives and their bees, to Stuart, who continues on the family business using the same strain of bee and equipment that has been there since the 1930's. Stuart has been around beekeeping his entire life, and maintains the strict standards for the quality of the honey set by his father, and Willie before him.
The hives are mainly situated in East Lothian, but they also have apiaries in Midlothian and the Scottish borders. In the hives you'll find the Smith strain of bee, so-called after Willie himself, and who are widely considered to be the finest honey producing bees.
Across their carefully selected sites in East Lothian, Hoods Honey care for approximately 13 million bees! THIRTEEN MILLION! Choosing a site where the bees will thrive is essential to the success of Hoods Honey, and they have even had the honour of placing hives in the grounds of the Scottish Parliament!
In mid to late August the job of bringing the hives back to base begins. Stuart has over 200 to collect, and each hive needs to be packed up in the wee small hours, when the bees are sleepy and docile. It's an exhausting undertaking to bring hundreds of kilos of honey and beeswax back to Ormiston for processing,
Excellence is guaranteed in every batch of Hoods Honey, with each sample being harvested, extracted and stored purposefully. Stuart, or one of his staff, will personally taste each sample before every crop of honey is blended and mixed to achieve the best possible taste. Then, each jar of honey is bottled and labelled by hand.
Hoods Honey have won every top award available in Scotland, an impressive feat for a company producing honey on a commercial scale. Their honey can be found in top-end, private and public outlets, as well as many farm shops and groceries - and of course, in Paper Tiger!
Here at Paper Tiger, we stock the Hoods Honey ranges of soap and candles, as well as a variety of skincare products - all made using their honey and beeswax. Each product is handmade and uses only the finest natural ingredients. Their range features a wide array of scents, so there's something for everyone!