Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Rata honey, Otira Gorge, New Zealand
The Rata honey I have is from New Zealand. It is processed and distributed by Airborne in Leeston, which is located southwest of Christchurch. Airborne were early New Zealand honey producers (1910-1997) but now concentrate on processing and distributing other apiarists' honey. The company was started with 50 hives in 1910 by William Bray and Alfred Barrett. In 1997 they had grown to having 6,000 hives but then decided to shift the focus of the company to processing, marketing and distributing other people's honey. From their website, they state that they are now one of the largest honey processing and exporting companies in New Zealand. They have a wonderful website with a great history of the company: http://www.airborne.co.nz/history.shtml They process a lot of floral honey, but from flowers I've never heard of: Vipers Bugloss (must look out for this one!), Kamahi, Rewarewa, and Tawar to name a few. They also make honey lozenges with anti-bacterial properties from Manuka and honeydew honey varieties. Apparently Manuka, Honeydew and Thyme honeys contain higher levels of antibacterial activity and antioxidants than most other varieties, making them of interest to health conscious people. They also produce a special line of honeys designed to be used in tea(?) and another in coffee(?). I'm not sure what this is all about (if you know, please leave a comment!).