Simon, a truly likeable and gentle fellow, has come from a family of environmental visionaries. He lives on the family farm, on the edge of the National Park. The farm is now a rewilding and conservation project, with 25 acres of wild flower meadows, mature forest, and a base for his Noble Bee, business, where he processes honey from 70 hives across the area, makes beeswax candles, and honey and bee products.
Now a 3rd generation farmer, it was in the 70’s that his dad, a chap whose vision was before his time, ran a farm with a home-grown produce shop (we’d now call this a farm shop), growing much of the produce for sale. The farm, just outside Hythe and next to Southampton Water, had cattle and some arable crops but when the large Tesco’s came to Hythe, they closed their sales down.
His father decided to rewild the farm, buying more existing mature woodland, and managing it as a conservation and wild flower meadow area.
In summer of 2021, Simon had a serious accident involving a tractor and a tree, earlier this year. He was extremely lucky to survive.
I have met Simon and had a sneak peek into his farm honey-room and was lucky enough to enjoy a honey tasting one afternoon in early summer 2021.
Simon says, “We consider looking after the bees to be a responsibility and we do so in a way that is harmonious with the natural behaviour of the bees. We only take honey that is excess to the bees needs, and make sure they have more than enough honey stored in the hive to see them through the longest of winters. Each hive is treated with special attention and care.”
We sell various types of honey, but there are two main ones. We sell wild flower honey from one of our apiaries here on the farm, and we have a partnership with Natural England, to have apiaries on the New Forest heathland. From this comes our very special New Forest heather honey.
Heather honey is special in its own right, and recent scientific research is uncovering some interesting finds. It has recently been declared a superfood and you’ll notice that it is jelly-like, but when you stir it, it becomes runny for a short period before reverting to being jelly-like again. This is know as being Thixotropic. The only other honey we know of like this, is Manuka honey from New Zealand.
We process our honey back here on the farm. All of our honey is cold extracted, to retain its beneficial enzymes and natural goodness. Our honey is also single origin, meaning we extract each apiary as its own batch. No two batches taste the same! A by-product of the honey processing is beeswax. We use this lovely pure wax, to make candles and balms, which you’ll also find in your little box.Everything sold by the brand “Noble Bee’ is handmade, and everything is created from scratch. He is a true ‘primary producer’ and environmental champion. Although I’m sure he’d disagree because he’s so humble and, ‘just doing his thing’.
Simon offers bee keeping days and experiences, which are well worth considering as a Christmas gift. A whole day, touring the farm, getting involved with the bees, including lunch and various honey take-aways, is only £90pp. They run again from May. Read more about them here.