Natural products are creating a true buzz.
And one Cork-based artisan is turning her passion for the humble Irish honeybee into retail gold, with a prestigious industry nod under her beekeeping veil to prove it.
A beekeeper with a relentless passion for edible gardening, nature, colour and sustainability, Hanna’s Honey Farm in Little Island, run by Hanna Bäckmo, was shortlisted in the Sustainability category of the ‘Irish Made Awards 2022’, organised by Irish Country Magazine.
Her range of handcrafted beeswax candles, raw honey, beeswax wraps, furniture polish and honey soaps are sold from her website and in some of Ireland’s leading artisan food and gift shops.
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Earlier this year, as the drive towards sustainability gained even more momentum, Hanna’s products also became available in luxury retailers including Brown Thomas in Dundrum and Arnotts, as well as in a number of select food and gift stores in the USA.
Hanna, who moved to Ireland from her native Sweden in 2001, keeps native Irish honeybees in her apiaries, collecting their raw honey, as well as beeswax and propolis to use for her product collection. Naturally free from toxins, additives, and artificial scents, the products are created for use in homes where there are children and pets, and for people sensitive to allergens.
“People often say that you need to be a bit crazy to try to make a living from beekeeping in Ireland,” says Hanna.
“I think they are right! But I never let that put me off. Beekeeping is my calling, and I’m very lucky to have received great support and encouragement from my friends and the wider beekeeping community.”
‘My bees and I work together.’
“All my handcrafted honeybee products begin their journey in the hive, where my bees and I work together. I spend a lot of time breeding healthy bees, protecting them, and ensuring that they have what they require. In turn, they reward me with the most beautiful natural and honey-scented raw materials that I use to create my products.”
Hanna is actively engaged in educating beekeepers and the public about the importance of pollinators and honeybees. She can be seen visiting schools and businesses with her observation hive, often with her son Julius (5), in tow, proudly sporting his beekeeping suit and enthusiastically telling people that all worker bees are female and that the boy bees, or drones, “do no work and have very hairy bums!” (all true).
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To celebrate being shortlisted for the Irish Country Magazine Irish Made Awards 2022, Hanna is offering 20 percent off the entire range of lovely reusable beeswax wraps (perfect for school lunchboxes), raw Irish honey, and handcrafted beeswax candles at hannasbees.ie.