Great Tilkey Honey, Essex

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“I have 7.5million reasons why Great Tilkey Honey should be named Producer of the Year, one for each of my bees that work tirelessly, to produce the delicious, ‘liquid sunshine’ that our customers love so much,” said Michael Coe of Great Tilkey Honey.

Michael Coe has been producing clear and set honey for the East of England Co-op since 2012. Great Tilkey Honey started supplying just a handful of shops and today supplies stores across Essex and Suffolk.  

Michael said: “I’m immensely proud of what my small cottage industry has achieved over the past five years. It’s been a long, steep learning curve – as a former carpenter what did I know about bar codes, purchase orders and delivery notes!

“What I knew for sure was that I had a premium health food that tasted exquisite, was 100% natural and was foraged from the local countryside of East Anglia – what could be better than that?”

From very humble beginnings, with just one hive in his back garden and a converted shed for jarring, Great Tilkey Honey has evolved into an established business with a bespoke extraction unit, six apiaries across Essex and Suffolk and a strong customer following.

If you’ve been to an East of England Co-op store or popped along to their marquee at one of the county shows and been greeted by bees, it’s very likely you’ve met Michael. During the summer months Michael takes his bees to events to help people learn more about the insect and how honey is produced.

“We are a family business; everyone has a part to play. It truly is a labour of love; very early mornings, late nights and lots of stings! But we would not change a thing. The journey has been phenomenal and the future looks bright. We are growing the number of bees and continuing to educate the public on the welfare of these amazing creatures. The honey however will remain the same – you can’t improve on nature’s perfection.”

Great Tilkey Honey