And the nominees in the category best (new) local product are... TRELAWNY HONEY PAPAYA & LIME JAM AND AUBERGINE CHUTNEY
Trelawny Honey Hives principal Sheona Muschett proudly presents her Papaya & Lime Jam and Aubergine Chutney. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Principals: Sheona and Paul Muschett

Email Address: trelawnyhoneyhives@gmail.com

Background

We started beekeeping in 2018 as a hobby and have since increased the number of hives as we continue to learn about beekeeping. Our mission has been to raise more bees to pollinate our community, reduce our waste and live in harmony with the earth.

Trelawny Honey Hives came to life with my two daughters being home during the pandemic and becoming a reflection of our family; the recipes we love, our sustainability values and our way of life. We realised that many of the items we frequently purchased while visiting abroad, we could actually make at home. Thus, the birth of Trelawny Honey Hives as a small cottage industry.

In addition to making preserves, we make our own furniture polish with pure beeswax and natural ingredients and sew a range of appliqué items such as Japanese Cross Back aprons, laundry peg bags, napkins and tea towels with fun Jamaican laundry scenes and chicken and goat characters all inspired by the appreciation of the environment. My daughters have since returned to their busy lives and I have been running Trelawny Honey Hives experimenting with new products and sewing projects.

The range of new products:

We are a small apiary located in Martha Brae, where we extract and bottle our honey by hand. We believe that when you shop small, you make a BIG impact. One purchase benefits our complex local network with a boutique specialty experience. We also offer a range of handmade preserves using the best local ingredients.

Uniq Fruit Marmalade

This unique fruit to Jamaica makes a one-of-a-kind, tart-yet-sweet marmalade. Sourced from the orchards at Good Hope, Trelawny, this fruit has the 2-in-1 power of a grapefruit and tangerine. Enjoy this coarse-cut marmalade on a warm, buttered slice of toast.

Ingredients: sugar, uniq, limes

Raw Honey

At Trelawny Honey Hives, our honey is hand-bottled, raw and unprocessed — so you can enjoy it as if straight from the beehive.

Aubergine Chutney

This classic Indian chutney is sweet, spicy and tangy, making it the perfect accompaniment for cheeses, meat dishes and sautéed veggies alike.

Ingredients: Eggplant, sugar, vinegar, sunflower oil, garlic, ginger, spice

Papaya Lime Jam

Our jam is a quintessentially Jamaican mix of papaya and limes. It's hard to beat it on buttered toast, but there are so many other ways to enjoy this jam! We suggest adding it to anything that needs a zesty, sweet punch — perhaps your yogurt, crêpes or even your pork glaze.

Ingredients: Sugar, papaya, lime

Three Fruit Marmalade

This is a favourite in our house: a sweet-yet-tart marmalade filled with coarse cut peel. Enjoy the full flavours of grapefruit, limes and sour oranges sourced from our garden and a local orchard. Spread it on buttered toast, or on a hot loaf, fresh from the oven.

Ingredients: Sugar, grapefruit, limes, sour oranges

Where are the ingredients sourced?

We believe in supporting our Jamaican farmers whenever possible. Just like our homegrown honey, all of our preserves are made from locally grown produce, some from neighbouring farms and orchards. We feel that supporting local producers has many benefits for everyone including the environment, economically, socially and health.

Where are the products currently sold?

Our products are available in Kingston (Jamaica Food and Drink, My Jamaica, Craft Cottage, Veeva Home), Ocho Rios (Ciao Bella, Better Foods Distributors, Magnolia House at Harmony Hall, Court House Gallery), St Elizabeth (YS Falls and Callaloo), and Montego Bay (The Collective and Peenie Wallie).

The story behind the packaging of the products

The labels and tags were thoughfully designed by my daughters. Our logo was created with a bee and we wanted a brand personality to represent our values for being high-end products and unique with a simple design. Our packaging is environmentally conscious as much as possible. The style of drawings and font are to demonstrate that everything is made by hand.

I made these products because... we were able to source high-quality produce locally and we were keen to offer our family favourites with friends and then our customers that we have developed.

My first breakthrough came when... we initially joined Peenie Wallie Jamaica, a premium online shopping site based in St James which also started up during the pandemic. Customers were interested in the range of products we offered, thus we launched a website and started participating in pop-ups and Christmas fairs. Boutique gift shops and small gourmet food outlets were keen to include our range of products and our popularity has continued to grow as we have become better-known.

The products became available to the public... in 2020 during the pandemic.

Our core customers are... our loyal regulars, boutique and gourmet food shops.

The response to the products has been... very positive!

My products are successful because... of their unique flavours and the range of good-quality ingredients that are sourced locally. We use family recipes and enjoy sharing!

I plan to grow the business... as part of a niche market, continuing to create new products sourced from local ingredients.

My major challenge... has been sourcing regular supplies of packaging — paper bags, cardboard boxes and jars as supply chains have become inconsistent with shipping issues worldwide. Some of our products are in reused bottles and jars, helping to cut down on Jamaica's waste, reducing our carbon footprint. All jars in Jamaica are imported and whilst we reuse as much as possible, we still have to source jars. We are mindful to be environmentally friendly with our packaging and products we make.

If I knew then what I know now... I would have started beekeeping earlier as it is hugely gratifying! We feel like the bees are now the ones caring for us. Our garden has benefited as they pollinate plants. It definitely has been a rewarding experience and we feel much more connected to nature and our environment. Our bees play a vital role!

Jamaicans should support my products because... our delicious and original ingredients benefit our complex local network of suppliers and retailers with a specialty boutique experience!

Trelawny Honey Hives Aubergine Chutney (left) and Papaya & Lime Jam were served with crackers and cheese. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Derrick Cotterell, group CEO and chairman, Derrimon Trading Company Ltd and Food Awards guest judge for the Best (New) Local Food Product, and Trelawny Honey Hives principal Sheona Muschett discuss her products. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Food Awards judge Oneal Johnson readies to try the Trelawny Honey Hives Aubergine Chutney. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Food Awards judges Maurice Sloley and Pauline Edie scrutinise the ingredients of the Trelawny Honey Hives Aubergine Chutney. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

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