This is Rebecca Honeywell-Ward. She’s passionate, she makes things happen & she bakes beautiful biscuits. In 2012, she turned her hobby into a business. Having grown up with the sweet smell of homemade cakes in the air and inheriting her dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, it was totally natural that Rebecca would start up her own business, Honeywell Bakes — a business specialising in artisan biscuits and baking kits. It started from her kitchen table but it’s grown into a happy team of eighteen bakers, in their own bakery in the heart of Northamptonshire, just around the corner from Fillville. It’s a cool spot, made up of light and airy converted barns. Importantly, Honeywell Bakes is more than just a bakery – they’re a force for good.
Honeywell Bakes is all about doing things right. Like us, they are a Real Living Wage employer, committed to paying the Real Living Wage. They’re B-corp certified and proud members of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of their turnover to environmental causes. They’re passionate about using local ingredients whenever they can – local, free-range eggs, organic flour milled in the Cotswolds, British grown sugar and locally produced butter. We’re proud that companies like Honeywell Bakes choose to reuse and refill with us. They’ve been choosing Fill Refill from their local refill store, Refill Revolution for a couple of years now, ditching single use in favour of refillable wash-up, hand soap & hand gel in the bakery. We dig Rebecca and Honeywell Bakes. So, we were real pleased to catch up with her and ask a few questions about what goes on behind the scones. Here’s she is:
WHO ARE YOU?
WHAT IS HONEYWELL BAKES?
We’re a sustainable baking company on a mission to bring creative baking to everyone. We’re proud to be B Corp certified.
HOW DID YOU WIND UP DOING WHAT YOU DO?
A hobby turned business! My Mum is a fantastic baker and believes that cake is the centre of the universe. Who am I to argue? I grew up baking and have a very sweet tooth.
WHY IS HONEYWELL BAKES A COOL PLACE TO BE?
We’re based on a farm in a couple of light and airy old barns, with lovely views of farmland. In the summer we can have lunch outside, walks around the fields and even dip our toes in the pond. Inside, we have a pick & mix station and a gin bar! Both get a lot of use when we’re busy at Christmas!
IF YOU WEREN’T RUNNING HONEYWELL BAKES, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I’d be a wildlife photographer working on conservation and rewilding projects, highlighting what we need to do for nature to thrive.
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON?
My dream would be to create a re-wilding project with a community kitchen garden; lots of space for wildflowers, insects, birds and mammals. Maybe some rustic places for people to stay, some spaces for learning… it’s far away on the horizon but it’s there!
So far, we have a little garden here at the bakery and we are currently using our first batches of hot compost to create raised beds. The produce will be used in our test bakes.
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE TO REUSE?
As part of our mission to reduce harm to the planet, we looked into every aspect of the business and realised we could cut plastic by using refillable soaps. It meant we’d no longer have plastic bottles to recycle.
WHAT DO YOU REFILL?
We currently refill washing up liquid, hand soap and hand sanitiser here at the bakery. We also have a visit every other week from the Eco Village Refill van, so we can stock up on dried pasta, fruit and nuts for our lunches & home baking.
WHY FILL REFILL?
Fill Refill are a local company with fantastic products, so the decision was easy. We love the fact that the soaps themselves are clean and don’t contain harmful chemicals. It’s very convenient as we can refill all our bottles on site, and of course the glass bottles look great on the sinks.
COOLEST OTHER REFILLABLE
We have a team refill here at the bakery, so everyone can bring in containers once a month and have a free top up of different flours and sugar, as well as any other food items we have that are past their best-before date, or that we have too much of. This helps the team reduce plastic at home and means we don’t waste any excess food items we have (ranges from Oreos to crispy onions or raisins)
HARDEST THING TO FIND WITHOUT PACKAGING?
A lot of our food items have to come in packaging for them to be food safe, but we have worked hard to source compostable or recyclable packaging. For example, the flour sacks can be recycled or we can compost them. However, there are still a lot of items that we’d love to find a better way to source without packaging.
HOW DO YOU ESCAPE
I’ve always loved horses and the countryside, so I would always choose to go for a ride.
My business highlight was a feature in a Christmas edition of Country Living. I’d always collected the Christmas editions so to be in it was amazing!
A VALUABLE LESSON
Things take time. You can’t do everything at once, and persistence is key. Small steps lead to big gains.
If you haven’t, try baking your own bread. It’s surprisingly easy and much healthier. Most shop bought bread counts as Ultra Processed Food as it has so many additives. Bread should only need four ingredients: flour, yeast, water and salt – or three if it’s sourdough because it doesn’t need yeast.
ONE PLACE WE SHOULD GO SEE
If it could be anywhere in the world, go to Alaska. It’s so beautiful and so wild. You feel free there.
If it needs to be more local, Coton Manor is a lovely spot in Northamptonshire within walking distance of my house, and you get a taste of the tropical when you walk amongst the flamingo flock.
THINGS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT
I couldn’t live without nature. I would go mad living in a city. I need to see green things. Of course also my husband and children, my lovely little dog Cookie, and some nice baked goods!
LAST SONG YOU CHOSE TO LISTEN TO
Pulp, Common People