Food & Drink, Retail

14th August 2018

That’s My Jam

We are buzzing to share the story of Heather Hills Farm – the Scottish producer of the delicious handcrafted jam available in our gift shop. 

With National Honey Bee Day coming up on the 18th of August we had to share the BEE-autiful story behind the organisation that creates our much loved (and super tasty) handcrafted jam.

Jars of Edinburgh Castle Jam

About Heather Hills Farm

Established in 1945, Heather Hills Farm is a traditional, family-run honey farm based in the Highlands of Perthshire. They specialise in a selection of honeys and handcrafted preserves made with locally-grown fruit pollinated by their own bees. Working extensively with passionate local berry growers, they started off with just one hive but now have 1300 across Perthshire and Deeside!

Heather Hills Farm is dedicated to supporting those who work within the local fruit industry. Just last month the team visited a farmer who had 2 tonnes of strawberries rejected by a supermarket. This equated to a huge monetary loss: think of all the time, work, water, bees! This fruit had travelled all the way to England and then back up to Scotland – there was nothing wrong with it!

The Bee’s Knees

Heather Hill depend on 52 million worker bees to carry out the pollination required for optimum crop yields and the perfect size, shape, colour and flavour of berry. Man that’s a lot of bees!  The bees gather the nectar that produces their Scottish Blossom Honey whilst keeping their colonies strong. This natural synergy is also formative in the jam making process.

Below are some interesting bee facts:

  • When a worker bee has found a new source of nectar she returns to the hive and performs a dance called a ‘waggledance.’  This lets other bees know the location of the new flowers.
  • Worker bees have eight wax-producing mirror glands on the inner sides of the stemites (the ventral shield or plate of each segment of the body).
  • Bees carry pollen back to the hive in sacks on their legs. Could this be the source of the phrase “the bee’s knees?”
  • A mated queen bee will not leave her hive unless she is forced out by a new queen. The worker bees will kill and replace a queen who is not laying sufficiently.
  • A honey bee will only sting if threatened. The bee dies once it has stung (unlike wasps who are able to sting many times).
  • Honey was found in the tomb of Ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamen. As it doesn’t degrade over time it should still be edible!

A bee at work

The Edinburgh Castle Handcrafted Jam

Has all this jam chat made you hungry? Next time you visit Edinburgh Castle make sure you stop by one of our gift shops to pick up a jar. Handcrafted in small batches, Edinburgh Castle jam contains no artificial flavours or ingredients.

We would love to see your own recipes, share them with us @edinburghcastle #edinburghcastle