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How do bees make honey?

03/06/2021
by paul Courtnyes

Have you ever wondered how bees make honey?

Step 1:

The worker bees will land inside or close to the flower and suck the nectar out using her proboscis (tongue) and collect in it a little sac called a crop or other wise known as a honey stomach. 

Step 2:

When her nectar sac is full, the honeybee will return to the hive. The worker bee will then pass the nectar to a hive bee by regurgitating the liquid into the hive bees mouth.

Step 3:

The worker bee will fly off and continue to collect nectar again whilst the hive bee deposits the nectar into a honeycomb. 

Initially the honey stored in the cells is still a bit wet, so the bees fan their wings over it, which helps the water to evaporate.  After some time, the water content is reduced to around 17%. 

Step 4:

When most of the water has evaporated from the honeycomb, the bee seals the comb with a secretion of liquid from its abdomen, which eventually hardens into beeswax. This process is a little bit like putting a lid on a jar.

During one bees lifetime, it will only make around 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. To make a whole pound of honey, the worker bees need to fly 50,000 miles and visit about 2 million flowers.

So the next time you have a trickle of honey over your porridge or over your pancakes, appreciate all the hard work bees have put into making it.


Bee friendly plants to sow this summer

25/05/2021
by paul Courtnyes

Give bees a helping hand by planting flowers, shrubs and trees that will provide them with the nectar and pollen they need to thrive, as well as nesting habitats.


Early Summer FlowersLate Summer Flowers
Campanula
Comfrey
Delphinium
Foxglove
Hardy geranium
Honesty
Hollyhock
Potentilla
Snapdragon
Stachys
Teasel
Thyme
Verbascum
Aster
Buddleja
Cardoon
Cornflower
Dahlia (single-flowered)
Eryngium
Globe thistle
Heather
Ivy
Lavender
Penstemon
Scabious
Sedum
Verbena bonariensis

Other things to consider:

- Plant through the seasons to provide year-round bee habitat

- Give bees shelter by letting the grass grow

- Don't use pesticides or insecticides 

- Use peat-free compost to save wildlife habitat

- Create a bee hotel.


Our bees are not only important to us at Courtney's because they produce our incredible honey we use to infuse Grumblebee Rum, they also pollinate all of the apple trees in our orchard where we make our Cider and Juice! 




Lambs playing in the Orchard

06/04/2021
by paul Courtnyes

Courtney's Orchard & Cider Open Day - 26th & 27th June 2021

10/03/2021
by paul Courtnyes

We are back! After a successful orchard open day last year, we have finally got more dates for you to come and explore our ancient Whiteways orchards.



Why not grab a cider and a pasty, throw down a picnic blanket and relax.

Or

Take a seat at one of our picnic benches located throughout the orchard. Perfect for social distancing.


Outside Cider Bar open for refreshments along with local pasties and tubs of ice-cream.

  • We will be serving cider, cocktails and soft drinks from our open air cider bar.
  • Why not take a break on your walk or cycle round the block to relax in the orchards with a refreshing drink.
  • Well behaved dogs on leads and responsible owners only, as we have sheep grazing in the orchards.
  • Limited toilet and parking facilities.
  • You must register for a ticket to attend. If you can no longer attend, please cancel your ticket so that someone else may come.

Courtney's create a range of ciders and juices from our orchards. Everything we do is natural. We handpick, press and bottle within the orchard. We don't use harmful chemicals or fertilisers, just letting nature do what she does best. Our range of ciders available include traditional, fruit and low alcohol. We also make Gin & Honey Rum which will be available to try or take away.

How to find us:

Courtney Orchards, The Old Orchards, Southbrook Lane, Whimple, EX5 2PD

50°45'41.0"N 3°23'20.5"W

View on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/484bf9Zr69zj2CwZA

Your SatNav may take you to a neighbouring farm. Please follow signs from the main road into Southbrook lane. We are 1 mile from the main road just past the railway bridge.

A short walk or cycle from Cranbrook, Whimple, Broadclyst and Rockbeare.

Extra info:

We keep beehives on the orchard to pollinate our trees. Please keep a reasonable distance away from them as they are very busy bees.


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New Luxury Truffles

05/03/2021
by paul Courtnyes

We have been working with a local chocolatier to create luxury truffles infused with our gin, rum & honey.

This is something we have always wanted to do and we couldn't be happier with the results.


We have 4 varieties available:

The Exe Gin with White Chocolate & Lemon

The Exe Gin with Milk Chocolate & Orange

Grumblebee Rum & Dark Chocolate

Grumblebee Honey with Milk Chocolate


We love it when things just work and these combinations are absolute incredible.

To shop truffles, click HERE


Courtneys Orchard Wassail 2021

15/01/2021
by paul Courtnyes
Every January, we would usually attend our local village Wassail, but covid...

So this year we had our own family wassail in our orchards.

We blessed the trees, drank mulled cider and scared off the evil spirits in the trees (probably with our singing alone, we may need a but more practise for next year). If you have a fruit tree in your garden, why not lively up an otherwise dull January by having your own at home wassail?

Get the family involved and join in our this ancient tradition.



Extreme Apple Bobbing?

19/08/2020
by paul Courtnyes

No, this isn't our very extreme version of apple bobbing (although it is the season for it). This is just how we get our apples ready for crushing.


Leftover Apple Pulp

12/08/2020
by paul Courtnyes

After crushing and pressing our apples, we bag up the apple pulp and take it up to the hill to the local farmers to feed his pigs and cows. Nothing goes to waste.


Royal Naval College Dartmouth x Courtney's

22/06/2019
by paul Courtnyes

We attended the Naval College in Dartmouth for their open day and set up one of our portable bars for the day. Here is the cheeky Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Robot running off with a half pint of our Silly Cow Cider.