THE ART OF HONEY
J. Friend & Co produce certified organic single flower honeys. Founded by Jeremy Friend and Sharyn Woodnorth, this boutique brand was created to return life to honey and dignity to the artisan beekeeper. Their mission is to introduce food lovers to the complex flavours of vintage honey, a taste experience like no other. We chatted with Sharyn about her love for bees, clean living and delicious food.
WHAT MAKES YOUR HONEY SO SPECIAL?
Honey is naturally special and we aim to keep it that way! Raw by nature, here at J. Friend & Co we don’t heat treat our honey, we leave it as nature intended with minimal processing to preserve the natural pollens and enzymes. We never blend honey from different vintages or regions.
We can trace each batch directly to a single hive, guaranteeing unique taste and ensuring every precious drop not only tastes divine, but retains all the health-giving properties you’d expect. Honey deserves nothing less, neither do you!
Honey is not made in a factory. It is the result of an organic process, conceived and directed by the forces of nature. All the quirks and vicissitudes of climate and vegetation and the miraculous hive mind are expressed in its flavour and texture. Yet by the time it reaches the jar, most honey has had its character stripped from it. Industrial production has sterilised it and made it into a commodity, ignoring the subtleties of its origins. We created J. Friend & Co to return life to honey and dignity to the artisan beekeeper. We want to introduce food lovers to the complex flavours of vintage organic honey, a taste experience without equal.
TELL US ABOUT TERROIR AND HOW IT RELATES TO YOUR RANGE?
J. Friend & Co honey truly speaks of, or captures, a particular place and time. The honey’s texture, flavour and colour are all influenced by where and when our honey was harvested. The individual characteristics of a particular honey are expressed by a particular time and place. Like wine, honey can have good and bad vintages, we hand pick only the best honey from each vintage.
YOU HAVE A FAMILY OF BEEKEEPERS – TELL US ABOUT THEM
Our family of beekeepers is as unique as the honey we produce. Some of our beekeepers, like Ernest, are from a long line of beekeepers – passing on the art of beekeeping from generation to generation. While others such as Steven are relatively new to beekeeping but are passionate about preserving the integrity of the honey and producing the very best honey in the world. We are so proud of all our beekeepers and want to celebrate the important work they do and that is why we put their name on the jar
WHY SHOULD WE CHOOSE ARTISAN HONEY OVER COMMERCIAL VARIETIES?
Commercial honey is just that – commercial. Its main purpose is to extract optimal profit for the company producing it. Batches of honey from different varietals and regions are blended together and heated to a high temperature. When honey is heated above 75 degrees Celsius and the pollen is filtered out you get clean looking clear “honey”, with the same nutritional value as sugar syrup! Artisan honey, on the other hand, is made by passionate individuals – processing in small batches and never blending honey from different batches to ensure each is unique to a specific place and time. Our honey is only ever heated to the natural temperature of the hive and never fine filtered, which means all the amazing benefits, tastes, colours and textures of the honey remain. There is no comparison!
As artisan honey producers we have direct ‘beeline’ with individual beekeepers, honey is kept in small traceable batches and most importantly to us, we keep the honey the way nature intended it to be! Our honey is only heated to hive temperature, and we never filter out the good stuff.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO EAT HONEY?
Simply, so that the unique characteristics and benefits of the honey remain. Drizzled over my favourite dishes both sweet and savoury, I am able to add unique flavour, colour and textural elements to a dish thereby adding interest and complexity whilst still retaining all the beneficial properties of the honey.
YOU LOVE COOKING! WHAT ARE MAKING FOR AUTUMN?
Our pear tree is absolutely laden with pears at the moment so I am trying to us as many pears in my cooking as possible. My current favourite is honey and cardamom roasted pear with creamy honey coconut yoghurt, it’s delicious for breakfast with grains or a light, flavourful dessert!
ARE TEA AND HONEY A GOOD MATCH?
Like needle and thread, thunder and lightning or wind and waves, they just go together. Both honey and tea flavours vary naturally ranging from strong distinctive tastes to delicate flavors. Meaning no matter what your preference, you’ll find the perfect pair. My absolute favourite tea and honey combination is Chai with beechwood honeydew – the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and clove spices in the tea perfectly balance the rich earthiness of the honey.
IS TEA A DAILY RITUAL FOR YOU?
YES! With four children and our own business my daily tea ritual is 10 minutes a day that I can take for myself to be truly present. It is an opportunity for me to step away from my busy day and really appreciate the moment. I love the simple art of tea making, from choosing which loose leaf tea will best benefit me on a particular day, right through to the first sip. I make sure my phone is switched to silent and I just enjoy the present!
WHO WOULD YOU INVITE FOR TEA?
Did you know Maria Von Trapp was a hobbyist beekeeper? That woman truly did it all! I imagine she would have a good story to tell over a cuppa.
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