The new product is available at wineries and tourist sites throughout the region, while a shop attached to the Taylor
Pass Road factory allows customers to taste and buy. For Darren, the chance to see who is eating his honey, and to get feedback from happy customers, is a
welcome change from the faceless, nameless, bulk export market, where hundreds of tonnes of his honey are literally swallowed up by unknown customers.
"To be part of it right through to the end consumer has been quite a buzz," he says.
"Having your product on people's tables and seeing them come back again and again because they like what you have done
is another step in the chain. And it's a step we were missing."
The sweet taste of success is nothing new to Darren, who started his apiary journey with one hive at the age of 15 and
now has 2500 hives on 30 properties, two thriving businesses exporting more than 350 tonnes of honey a year, and a host of entrepreneurial accolades.
His Marlborough companies Blaycliff Apiaries and The Honey Company were the biggest winners at last year's Marlborough
Business Excellence Awards, with four awards, including a silver level of attainment, the highest award received at the event.
Darren has since worked to ensure his own brand of liquid gold is worthy of the top prize in 2011.
That means upping the ante on his bulk honey exports into Europe, the United Kingdom and Asia, and looking closer to
home with his new Sweet Nature venture.
Darren is not exiting the bulk market, but hopes Sweet Nature will slowly take more of it over, as domestic and
international demand for the packed honey grows.
Sweet Nature's new marketing and sales manager, Carey-Anne Hamilton, hopes cycle and tour groups, local groups, clubs
and mothers with children will head up Taylor Pass Rd to check the shop out, bringing their containers to fill or buying ready packed honey from the
She has been thrilled at the swift uptake from wineries such as Yealands Estate, Wairau River Wines and Allan Scott
Family Winemakers, and speciality shops such as Vines Village.
"They are impressed with the professional branding of it and the packaging, and the fact that people can take it
overseas with them.
"And they are so pleased that it has been produced locally."
The Honey Company is 8km up Taylor Pass road. Call Carey-Anne on 577 6955 to organise a group visit.