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2016_05_27_HONEY_BLOSSOM

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27/05/16<br />
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Thanks to an abundance of late-flowering blossoms in bee-keeper Gloria Havenhand’s orchard, it’s looking like this year could be the best ever for production for the UK’s only medical honey farm, set close to the Chatsworth estate on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District.<br />
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There is a definite buzz of excitement as 72-year-old Gloria and her son Giles check the honey production in one of the several hundred hives she farms in Derbyshire and the Scottish highlands.<br />
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Throughout the year, the bees collect pollen and nectar from more than 240 different varieties of flowering plants and hedgerows on the farms, with several acres of wild flower meadows nearby, which have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).<br />
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“It’s a bit like Fortnum and Masons for bees round here,” Gloria explained. <br />
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“The bees start the season early, usually in February, with snowdrops and crocus, before moving on to the dandelions and wild flowers such as borage and phacelia.<br />
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“Right now it’s all about the orchard blossoms, and there’s plenty of different ones for them to chose from, hawthorn, plum, cherry, damsons and crab apples to mention just a few.<br />
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“And later on in the year they’ll move onto enjoy a feast of resins from the Christmas tree farm we also run here.”<br />
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Each hive is home to more than 40,000 bees and will produce around 120lb of honey a year, and it’s this honey, which is carefully and slowly cold pressed from the wax honeycombs to keep the antibacterial properties intact.<br />
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But it’s not just honey that the bees provide. <br />
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Gloria also harvests propolis, a resinous mixture that bees collect from tree buds, and pollen, which her company, MediBee, uses to create a range of medicinal supplements and creams, to treat a variety of ailments including eczema, psoriasis, hay fever and open wounds. <br />
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