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Award shows dale honey is among UK best

WE’RE BUZZING: Scott Varley and Rachel Carr celebrate the two stars their heather honey earned during the Great Taste Awards

BEES feasting on heather in the upper dale are producing some of the finest honey in the UK, according to the Great Taste Awards.
Eppleby honey-maker The Honey B Company scooped two stars for its heather honey at this year’s awards to complement the star the business received for its English wildflower honey last year.
Although the outfit has only been in operation since March last year, it is quickly making an impact on local buyers with its 100 per cent pure honey.
The company, run by partners Scott Varley and Rachel Carr, only uses honey from hives in the dale to create their two distinctly different varieties.
The honey is sourced from Mr Varley’s brother-in-law’s 1,800 hives, which are located throughout the dale including Eppleby, Whorlton and Stainton.
Mr Varley said: “Because of the pollen and nectar they come out very differently. The wildflower honey is produced from late May to July. The wildflower is completely cleaned out before the hives are taken up onto the moorland from late July until September.”
The couple say both varieties are on sale at Barnard Castle’s monthly farmers’ market and at almost 60 shops and farm shops in the North East.
Miss Carr said much of the honey available in supermarkets is Chinese honey mixed with local varieties and other ingredients to make it runny.
She said: “Ours is literally from the hive to the jar. This is pure honey – it is local, and that is our USP [unique selling point].”
Educating people about honey was a significant part of the business because many people are simply unaware of how honey is made, she said. Nor are they aware of its health benefits, particularly for those who suffer from hay fever. “We are quite health conscious ourselves, so we want to push that side of it,” said Miss Carr.
Mr Varley said earning the award was a “pleasant surprise,” and it would go a long way to help people understand the product.
He said: “We know the quality, but it is hard to get across to people why it is such a good quality honey.
“Getting the Great Taste Award really helps us with that.”