What is your food product?
Brookfield Farm honey is a wonderful raw Irish honey gathered by bees from the large range of seasonal Irish wildflowers and tree blossoms. What could be nicer than honey from your own hive? We offer Brookfield Farm Hiveshare – you can get a share of our hives and enjoy your honey straight from the beekeepers!

How is it made?
We do very little to the honey, just extract from the natural comb and filter before putting this raw superfood into jars.

Our bees are native Irish black bees, well adapted to our damp and cool climate. There are lots of amazing facts about bees and honey making! Bees travel up to five miles to forage for nectar and pollen. Each bee collects about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her entire lifetime, so it is precious.

Busy bees - c'mon, couldn't resist!

When and how did you first come up with the idea for the product?
I am interested in bees, and keen to make Brookfield Farm, (mixed farm on the shores of beautiful Lough Derg) a sanctuary for wildlife and insects, as well as producing excellent farm food. The idea of Hiveshare helps bees and beekeepers and gives people a unique insight into the cycle of seasons on the farm and the story of their own bees and hives. An added bonus is the lovely natural handmade beeswax candles and gift boxes we make on the farm that come with Hiveshare.

Who buys your products?
A wide range of people buy Brookfield Farm honey: Families, foodies, chefs, people interested in nutrition, it suits the Paleo diet and numerous other diets too. Our raw Irish honey is full of healthy enzymes and trace elements and is absolutely delicious! Honey is an ancient traditional remedy for colds, sore throats, and other ailments and is also used for beauty treatments for skin and hair. 

Where do you source your ingredients?
Our ingredients are honey and beeswax! We manage our own hives on Brookfield Farm, and have relationships with award winning Irish beekeepers who also supply us their surplus.

Brookfield Honey
Does your product carry the guaranteed Irish label?
Brookfield Farm honey doesn't yet have the guaranteed Irish label, our customers know us, and that our honey is Irish.

Most of our honey is sold through our Hiveshare scheme available at www.brookfield.farm. Right now our handmade pure beeswax candles are available in a number of shops, and they are Design and Crafts Council of Ireland registered. 

Is your product packaged in Ireland and is it recycled/recyclable?
Yes our product is packaged in Ireland, on Brookfield Farm. Most of our packaging is glass and handmade wooden etched boxes from our local Tipperary woodworker. We also have useful tin boxes ready for domestic reuse!

Other than your own, what’s your favourite product?
I love Boulaban ice-cream - made by a member of our Tipperary Food Producers' network. They supply Brookfield Farm with the most delicious creamy lavender and honey ice-cream for our Honey Celebrations. A true land of milk and honey!

Snow obstacle too big at Brookfield Farm
What is your view on ‘organic’ produce?
As an alumnus of the IFOAM international organic agricultural leader’s programme 2014, I am a big supporter.
Organic produce is a huge expanding market in Europe and is growing rapidly in countries like USA and China. There are great opportunities for Irish food producers to provide internationally certified organic Irish food to consumers.

The health benefits from nutritionally dense organically produced food is now recognised, and the higher animal welfare standards and restrictions on the use of chemicals and artificial fertilisers give consumers confidence to purchase.  Brookfield Farm is in the process of converting our lamb enterprise to organic. 

Many food producers are very passionate about their products – have you a message you would like to share with your customers?
We are delighted and grateful that our customers like our natural farm produced goods and we hope they will continue to support us and similar farmers and help keep the Irish countryside alive with farms, people, and wildlife.

Are there salt and/or sugar in your products? If so, how much and why? 
There is no sugar or salt added to our honey which is extracted from honey combs, and comes from natural plant nectars gathered by thousands of bees and turned to honey in the hive. Honey naturally contains glucose and fructose in different proportions to sugar, but also other substances: water, plant acids, waxes, gums, pigments and volatile oils which have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

What is the shelf-life of your product and how come?
Honey is designed by bees to be long life! Pure honey has a practically indefinite shelf life; however prolonged storage can potentially take a toll on the taste and appearance of honey, so we add a best before date. Besides crystallizing, your honey may also start to darken, change aroma and lose flavour after a couple of years. So it’s a good idea to check your honey from time to time, to see if it’s still satisfactory for your tastes.

Great tip:
It’s not unusual for honey to crystallise over time — but that doesn’t make it unsafe to use. If you find your honey crystallised, you can revive it by placing the opened honey jar in warm water and stirring until the crystals dissolve. To help keep honey at its best, be sure to store it in a cool, dark area and keep it tightly capped after each use.

What would your death row meal be (aside from your own products!)?
Goodness, what a prospect! A last meal would have to be seasonal, produced by passionate food producers, minimally processed and got to the plate fresh. In July it might be a tender rare lamb rack with perfectly steamed potatoes dripping with truly grass fed butter and a large plateful of crunchy delicious vegetables picked that morning - beans, peas,  the last of the asparagus and a mixed fresh green salad.

Doesn't that sounds perfect.

Find out more about Brookfield Honey F: www.facebook.com/BrookFieldFarmProduce, I: instagram.com/brookfield.farm, T: @farmbrookfield

You can buy their products at Shannon Duty Free, Killruddery Estate, Wicklow, the Irish Design Shop in Drury Street, Dublin 2 and coming to Kildare Village this Spring.

Ailbhe at Brookfield on Lough Derg