Brockley Honey: Robust and flowery, like the people

"Bees make honey and jelly? How come nothing humans make tastes good?"
- Fry, Futurama

We were tipped off about Brockley honey, by former Moonbow Jakes proprietor, John. He simply wrote:

"I was in Shop on the Hill buying veg when the lady delivering Brockley Honey came in with her supply. All I can say, having bought a jar, is it is fabulous and I recommend it to all."

Obviously, that was our cue to get in touch with Camilla Goddard, whose bees produce the stuff. In an interview today, she told us:

"I've been producing honey in South East London for some time, but this is my first year producing honey in Brockley. I live locally so when some land became available on Wickham Road, I took up the option to create an apiary.

"There are ten hives on the site and each is home to more than 30,000 bees. That's enough to create a small quantity of honey, which is sold at The Broca Food Market and The Shop on the Hill. The spring honey is out now, but there will be some summer honey coming very soon.

"Brockley honey has a robust taste, with a lovely flowery aftertaste. It's very different from the Greenwich honey I make.

"The bees fly in a 3 mile radius from the hive, so if your readers see any honey bees in their back garden, the chances are, they are from the Wickham Road apiary. You can help the bees by planting flowers. Crocuses are great in the early part of the year, lavendar, rosemary and in particular red or yellow flowers - the bees love them. People with pollen allergies could benefit from locally-produced honey.

"It's not really a commercial enterprise but I grew up on a farm and it always amazes me that there aren't more bees in the city. With numbers declining, I set it up as a conservation project, first and foremost."

"If anyone sees the bees swarming, please feel free to give me a call on 0207 638 6581 or 07984 682417 . I'll also be launching a website about the honey soon, called Capital Bee.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've got two hives in my garden in Ladywell, and my neighbour also has two hives. We've both been doing it for four years.

Anonymous said...

no, sorry, five years.

Anonymous said...

keeping bees that is

Ms Baroque said...

Lovely! I used to buy some Hackney honey, though for a price - and in Melrose and Morgan in Primrose Hill. I've never seen it in Hackney. You;ve got me thinking now...

Ms Baroque said...

By the way, not quite as bucolic as the Brockley honey, the Hackney honey was from some hives on the top of a tower block in Victoria Park. Nice!

Comment said...

This is great, i'll definitely try some as I am intrigued at the what the "robust taste, with a lovely flowery aftertaste" will be like.

It's arrived too late in the season to help alleviate or prevent hay fever symptoms though.

Anonymous said...

This post is all a bit too cosy and "mung-bean" for me.

I feel that, like the worker bee when he places the honey into the comb, I may vomit.

Comment said...

Buzz off

Brockley Nick said...

Anon 13.57, I'll be sure to write about a drive-thru steakhouse as soon as one opens in the area.

Anonymous said...

Honey has a taste when removed from the hive, and for about 30 minutes afterwards, that is unlike honey taken from a jar or stored for any length of time. It is full of air and life and still 'live'. That said, London honey is always very good because of the variety of plant from which to extract pollen. Being close to Hilly Fields will also mean that the bees will have a preponderance of Horse Chestnut blossom to visit at this time of year.

Brockley Kate said...

OMG I have been literally waiting for this for months! I am so excited now! Will get down to TSOTH asap ...

tyrwhitt ali said...

Ohhh I hope there's still some left when I'm working from home on Thursday!

The Cat Man said...

I have also been waiting for this - i'm going to buy ALL the supply at the Broca Food Market

Do you think cats like it?

Brockley Kate said...

Andy, if you buy it all up before I get a chance to get some, I will hunt you down, I swear ...

Tamsin said...

That's lovely. I've heard that city bees are healthier because of fewer pesticides etc.

ladywell beekeeper said...

Bees still have to be carefully looked after - the greatest threat being Varroa (a parasitic mite), but this can be treated.

European Foulbrood is also a danger and is notifiable - there was an outbreak in Blackheath a couple of years ago and we had a visit from a bee inspector to make sure our bees weren't infected.

quick brown fox said...

Catman, you can give it to your cats but make sure you brush their teeth afterwards and make them gargle with mouthwash. Otherwise best avoided.

Anonymous said...

My dad used to keep bees - fascinating hobby, plus you get all that lovely honey.

And with the decline in bee populations (and hence their ability to pollinate crops) beekeeping may just help to keep the human race alive.

Save the bees - save the world!

monkeyboy said...

how do you become a bee inspector? Do you get a badge? He so i'm applying.

bee-have yourself said...

One applies for the job when one becomes vacant old boy...

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Bee-Have is your daughter/sister Miss Bee Have?

Monkeyboy said...

As Eddie Izzard once said...

"Honey bees are amazing creatures. I mean, think about it, do earwigs make chutney?"

Wise words I think you'll agree.

Anonymous said...

Is Eddie Izzard just a transvestite or is he a chutney ferret as well.

On second thoughts I think I am getting him mixed up with Julian (Fister) Clary.

bee-have yourself said...

I have a son, master bee-ha...

nah, doesn't work

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Change his name to Bates

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Sorry couldn't resist.

I'll shut up now and head off to take part in the Wickham Quiz.

New competitors always welcome. Free entry and alcoholic prizes!

master nothing said...

That would mean changing my name as well...

Mister Bates?

Mrs Bates?

Ms Bates...?

are there more?

Headhunter said...

That's good news, I thought the nearest honey producer was on Salhurst Rd, but Wickham Rd is very close! I'll have to get me some, helps prevent hay fever. Bees love our local weed, the Brockley national flower, as well - The Green Alkanet, when I let it go wild in my garden, the bees flock to it.

Anonymous said...

bees swarm, sheep flock

Tamsin said...

When swarming they are not particularly interested in flowers.

drakefell debaser said...

Cool, this goes some way to explaining why I have noticed more bees in Brockley this year.

My old man recently took to keeping bees and has 4 hives at the bottom of his garden now which is a little insane but I will buy some local stuff to compare.

bee-littled said...

Very true Tamsin, and believe me I've gathered swarms in a cardboard box from neighbours gardens on many occasion.

But I was trying to be clever... (with the flock thing)

The Cat Man said...

I made a bee-line to the broca food market and I couldn't bee-lieve what i saw - a whole row of brockley honey!

Now that row is minus 1, and having now just tasted it I can honestly say that it is amazing...

If you don't bee-lieve me, buy it.

Sue said...

Hmm, have previously had Honor Oak and and Catford honey, look forward to trying this. Ladywell beekeeper: do you sell your honey? If not I'll stretch to that extra half a food mile and get the Brockley stuff.

I used to avoid honey in my more militant vegan days back when I was 17, but less willpower now. Still occasionally sprout my own mung beans of course . . .

Anonymous said...

How much is it?

Amanda said...

It's £4.25 from The Shop on The Hill and quite delicious with some buttered toast.

Brockley Honey

Deptford Dame said...

Even Deptford has its own honey these days!

westsider said...

What does it taste like?

Tressilliana said...

More robust and less flowery than Brockley honey would be my guess, if they're anything like the areas.

honey monster said...

I wonder how the robusticity of honey is determined?

I'll ask a honey judge next time I see one.

(yes monkeyboy, there are honey judges, indeed the whole business of showing honey and its associated honeyabilia is one fraught with intrigue, backstabbing and resentment)

PfkaG said...

The thing about honey as I understand it, seems to be that you get a naturally processed melange of the local flora, unless you have the uncanny skill to train your bees to track down specific species. A friend of mine kept a wee apiary up by Crystal Palace where the bees would return laden with ivy nectar, producing a heavy (some might say "robust") almost inedible honey.

Q1. Do bees tend to stay within a certain range of their hives?

Q2. Has anybody tried making mead?!

PfkaG said...

Having read the article, it seems that the answer to Q1. is 3 miles (d'oh!)

Headhunter said...

What's a "wee apiary"? Do you mean "wee" as in small or "wee" as in the flavour of the honey?

PfkaG said...

I intended the former (to rhyme with bee), but come to think of it...

bee-yond the pale said...

For your information PfkaG, and if you had one, you could only move your hive 3 inches (or less) or 3 miles (or more)(winter excluded) - anything in between is undesirable (although you could do it of course, it's just that the bees wouldn't appreciate it).

monkeyboy said...

£4.25! You got stung.

TM said...

That's worse that the daily joke in the London Paper......where? on the Sudoku page of course with the Em cartoon strip.

Much better than the Lite IMHO

Headhunter said...

That's nothing, Catford honey and the other one I used to buy from Crofton Park were about £6 per jar, obviously the jar sizes may be larger, but it's liquid gold I tell you....

Comment said...

So I have tasted this Brockley Honey it's pleasant enough. Now I don't know whether it's down to an unrefined honey palette on my part or what but it tastes a bit ordinary; no robustness nor much floweriness in the aftertaste...

Richard said...

Yesterday we took our first delivery of Brockley Honey from Camilla & very nice it is too. Definitely a flowerly after taste, but less dense & viscous than big brand honey. Very nice, went down a treat with staff and today's lunch customers!

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