PUBLISHED: 12:38 06 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:30 20 February 2013
Mark started keeping bees about 5 years ago and was lucky enough to be offered part of the farm to experiment with different bee husbandry techniques and organic rotations.
Filberts Bees Ltd produce honey, balms, salves and candle waxes from their Bee Farm in Dorchester in Dorset. Dorset magazine finds out more about this specialised business.
Why did you go into bees, honey, balms and salves? There is not one simple reason, it was more a combination of factors not being sure about the future in farming, wanting to start a business that would not require high levels of capital investment, an interest in the environment, looking for a farming-related activity that had not already been exploited by lots of other people...
Mark started keeping bees about 5 years ago and was lucky enough to be offered part of the farm to experiment with different bee husbandry techniques and organic rotations. To improve the habitat for bee keeping, part of the farm is now managed organically. Avoiding pesticides completely makes looking after bees much simpler. 14 acres of traditional and contemporary apple varieties, damsons and cherries have been planted across three orchards. The interest in apples has led Mark to apple juice and cider production with a cousin.
Despite a particularly long harsh winter the bees are now flourishing and production from our bespoke nectar mixes has been healthy. Despite very erratic flowering times the sainfoin, alsike clover and phacelia have all been in flower now and although we have not been able to keep the nectar separate to make our specialist mono-floral honeys the resultant blend is very flavoursome and represents the flowers well. Alongside Mark, Philada (Marks mum) has started up Filberts Bees to exploit the products of the hive honey, beeswax and propolis as they are called.
What are your values? Lots of people are already selling lip balm, hand salve and the like but at Filberts we make everything ourselves on site, using our own recipes. We avoid petro-chemicals, synthetic preservatives and over processed components and use good quality well sourced oils in addition to our own and local ingredients.
We think of our products as the wholefood of the cosmetics market if you ever wondered why so many skin care products are insipidly coloured and lacking in individual character, it may be that they are the white sliced bread of skin care. They are made from base mixes bought in from a wholesale supplier add a few drops of essential oils or colourants and there is the finished product.
Weve learnt a lot in the last couple of years since starting up Filberts Bees a painful learning curve at times. The feedback were getting now from customers is really encouraging and sales are growing steadily.
Are your products normally cheaper than the supermarket?
Like for like our products are around the same price range as US imports such as Burts Bees and Badger Balms.
Do you encourage local people to supply you?
We seek out wax from other beekeepers locally and buy farm-pressed sunflower and oilseed rape from Fussels Fine Foods in Somerset. Our West Country lip balm is 88% from Dorset and Somerset something that is rare in skin care products.
Where are you located?
37 Icen Way,
Dorset, DT1 1ET
To buy products from Filberts Bees please visit