For over 80 years members of my family have been keeping bees, and the skills learned by my grandfather, Martti, have been passed down through the generations, each of us learning a little more and adding to the traditional way of keeping bees. Today, Kiia, who also happens to be the Southern Finland Beekeeping Association Chairperson, and I are solely responsible for the farm that my grandfather started all those years ago.
We are blessed with an almost perfect environment here in southern Finland – there is no pollution and there is an abundance of natural woodland and flora. Our bee hives are located in the same farm my grandfather started, set deep in the forest, surrounded only by nature – the perfect setting for perfect natural honey.
Our traditions extend to only ever using wood for our bee hives and bee keeping is very much in our blood. We look after our bees in the same way a dog lover looks after their dog, or a rider looks after their horse. Bees are such a precious element of our ecology and environment, and we take great pride in ensuring their protection and wellbeing. It is a scary thought that without bees, we would lose so much of the food we take for granted, and especially so many of the fruits we eat. It is believed that Albert Einstein once said that without bees the world would starve within a couple of years – this is a myth and he did not say that, but there is an element of truth to the words all the same. We would certainly have to make drastic changes to our diets, that’s for sure.
Of course, the environment in Finland can be very harsh where temperatures here can drop to as low as -30oC. As bees will hibernate in their hives, we do give them a little bit of a helping hand by adding EPS insulation solely to the roof to help them retain heat – but that is the only man-made intervention we allow in our traditional bee keeping practises.
Come springtime and as flowers begin to blossom once again, so the bee gets back to work. We are so fortunate to have our hives in a location where there is no reliance of bees on any single crop – too much reliance on one crop for pollen can have a tremendous influence on the taste of honey. Instead there are a wide range of nectar sources for our bees, including willow, blueberry, Heather, lingonberry, dandelion, willow herb and raspberry. Some years there can be subtle changes in the flavour of our natural honey depending on the abundance of one flower over another, but much as the way a sommelier can identify which region a specific wine comes from, exactly the same can be applied to honey.
– Reko, Managing Director