Bees’ Paradise in Myrtleville.
The Meadows of Hive Mind.
The honey, in its tallish jar, is of a light colour though a bit cloudier than usual. But there is a natural explanation. It is produced by the bees at Hive Mind in Myrtleville and is unfiltered. The aromas are attractive, mainly light and floral I think. No wonder, these bees are spoiled, meadows of flowers and herbs set out for them. I am enjoying this sample with its smooth consistency, pleasantly coating the palate, the flavours and aromas persistent.
Hive Mind themselves have persisted since 2014 and the bees are enjoying their meadows by the sea, meadows planted with herbs and flowers (the seed has been organically sourced) that include: Berseem Clover, Borage, Buckwheat, Calendula, Caraway, Chinese Mallow, Cork Cockle, Cornflower, Dill, Fennel, Phacelia, and the beautiful Sainfoin.
|Aishling and Mark|
The variety of flowers and blossoms from the meadows and the hedgerows help balance the flavours of the honey. Buckwheat on its own yields a dark brown honey which is pungent, the flavour a distinctively malty. Clover, on the other hand, gives a sweet and delicate result, closer to a “normal” honey. The bees love clover but there are quite a few varieties of the plant, so not all clover based honey is the same.
“It’s not too surprising to find that the magical, cliff-edged village of Myrtleville, with its stunning views of the sea, is producing some of best wild honey in the country today,” says Aishling Moore, head chef of award-winning Elbow Lane restaurant, who rates Hive Mind amongst the best honey she has ever tasted. And the good news is that you too can help Hive Mind continue to stretch out a helping hand to the Irish honey bee.
Mark Riordan's apiaries and bee meadow are located at his family farm in Myrtleville House. To create a sustainable business Riordan has started 'renting' his hives to organisations and individuals in exchange for his honey. And the Market Lane restaurant group has committed to financially supporting three colonies of honey bees at Riordan's farm.
|A meadow at six weeks|
His collaboration with Moore, the first with a restaurant, will not only provide for the restaurant’s honey needs throughout the year but it also means that Riordan gets solid financial support to build up his bee stocks and increase the number of hives. It will also help to maintain a vibrant, healthy habitat for these bee colonies and help Riordan to engage other beekeepers to spread the word.
Hive Mind is now making an appearance as a hero product on the menus at Elbow Lane, which is part of the progressive Cork-based Market Lane Group of restaurants. The talented, young Moore has woven this wonderful honey into dressings, sauces and spun it into ice-cream and cocktails.
Factors such as weather, parasites and pesticides have meant that local bee stocks are diminishing every year so Riordan sees that initiatives like Hive Mind will be vital for the survival of the honey bee into the future. These black and yellow-striped flying friends are key to the country's biodiversity and economy. It is estimated that they contribute some €53m* to the Irish economy every year.
Riordan, who has a Masters in horticulture and years of experience as a beekeeper, set up Hive Mind in 2014. “I am delighted to be working with Aishling and the Market Lane Group. This company is so well established and respected for its ethical and sustainable approach to sourcing. It is a perfect partner for Hive Mind. It is also a vital link into the city for me.”
The Hive Mind goals are:
- Promote the growth and development of a national passion for beekeeping.
- Set up provincial apiaries to carry out a nationwide service.
- Arrest the decline of the honey bee on a local level.
- Aid in educating and inspiring as many people as possible.
To buy by the jar, shoppers can go online and fill in an ‘expression of interest’ form. They will be contacted when the next harvest is completed at the beginning of Autumn. See the website here.