A FAMILY-RUN honey business has had the sting taken out of a potentially catastrophic summer.
This year’s unusually wet summer meant millions of bees at Chain Bridge Honey Farm were confined to their hives and ate the honey they had made to help them survive. But luckily for the business, based at Horncliffe, near Berwick, the rain also meant an unusually good crop of heather in the hills of north Northumberland helped the family’s bees get buzzing again.
Owner Willie Robson said: “It has been one of the worst summers in years and the effect on our honey bees was nearly catastrophic.
“But they have been saved by the warmer weather of the past few days and by the fact that, because of the summer rain, the heather in the hills has been surprisingly good this year.
“Now most of the hives are bursting with honey and it looks as though we will end up with about half the normal year’s production – but it has been a close-run thing.”
Previously, good summers enabled the honey farm to build up a reserve of tonnes of honey.
This meant sales through the company’s 350 shops, the farm’s visitor centre and online orders reached record levels.
The family business, which was started by Willie’s father William Selby Robson in 1948, employs 15 people, including Willie and wife Daphne, son Stephen and daughters Heather and Frances.