Dorset farmer Mark Rogers loved honey, and subsequently in 2005, after reading everything on the shelf and seeking help from local beekeepers (including his uncle) he got some hives . He hasn't looked back and now runs 100 hives in West Dorset.
Honey flowed freely on, well, pretty much everything Mark cooked. But long days with bee keeping gloves on led to ragged, dry hands. ‘No problem’ thought Mark, ‘reach for the nearest moisturiser to hand’. Unfortunately, bees hate petrochemicals and the easy answer resulted in many stings around the wrists and hands. This in turn led to a search for a moisturiser which didn’t upset the bees. Now, bees can be pretty picky little critters and no product seemed to fit the bill. At the same time as this was going on, he was trying to use honey, wax and pollen to make a delicious nutrition bar (which tasted foul, stuck to your teeth and was indigestible), but on cleaning the cooking utensils one day, the answer was found around the inside of the pan. The mixture of oils and wax were the perfect base for a natural, moisturising balm, which didn’t upset the delicate little bees.
Surprisingly, wax - a by-product of the hive - came into its own. As Mark experimented with it, this wonderfully protective and nourishing ingredient became not the by-product it had previously been, but a valuable resource, especially in years of poor honey yield. After some research, lots of trial and error and a fair bit of mess, the original Hand Salve became a fully tested and assured product for us to sell. Concentrated Hand Salve remains a best seller for us.
In May 2008 with a handful of products, Mark’s mum, Philada (aka Phil Burt) set up Filberts Bees and further recipes were concocted. Natural beeswax lip balms, salves, butters and polishes came into being over the next few years. Our fabulous illustrator Holly Clifton Brown dreamt up superb, quirky label designs and storyboards. More talent has joined us with Freya Baxter, whose photography skills have given us a brilliant catalogue, a record of the beekeeping year and the people who help us. If you come and see us at shows or events, you may also meet Tessa (whose day job is in marketing).