Honey, the gig is gold

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

IT’S the sweet life that raises Bund­aberg Honey owner Dar­ren Pratt from his bed each morn­ing.

Mr Pratt started honey farm­ing three years ago and won’t look back now he and son Ben­jamin have mas­tered bee-keep­ing.

Speak­ing with Ru­ral Weekly be­tween “rob­bing the hives”, Mr Pratt said the busi­ness was buzzing.

Ben­jamin is learn­ing the ins and outs of the bee busi­ness and prides him­self on sell­ing the prod­uct at Bund­aberg’s Shalom Mar­ket each Sun­day.

They own 200 hives and ev­ery dou­ble hive con­tains be­tween 30,000–35,000 bees.

The Bund­aberg hives pro­duce about 12–15 tonnes of honey each year, with a va­ri­ety of flavours.

The most pop­u­lar flavour is the macadamia, which also has the short­est time frame in which to work.

The api­arists said there was one chance each year to have the bees at the right place at the right time to get the full flavour of the macadamia.

“There’s about a six-week win­dow with the bees where you have to act fast,” Mr Pratt said.

“You only get one chop at this per year.”

The macadamia is na­tive to Aus­tralia and starts flow­er­ing in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

The flow­ers are at­trac­tive to bees for three days af­ter blos­som­ing.

Bund­aberg Honey will av­er­age about two-and-a-half tonnes of the macadamia flavour in the six-week sea­son.

Mr Pratt said some peo­ple didn’t re­alise the flavours of honey came from the trees in which the bees col­lected pollen and nec­tar.

Bund­aberg Honey pro­duces flavours in­clud­ing blue­berry, straw­berry, iron bark, mixed shrub, mixed gum and Bund­aberg blos­som.

They use dou­ble hives to man­u­fac­ture the golden good­ness, which is sold as 100% pure honey with no ar­ti­fi­cial flavours or colours.

“It’s all pure and there’s no heat­ing,” he said.

“Once you heat honey you start to lose the good bac­te­ria, the stuff that’s re­ally good for you.”

He said there was a science be­hind mak­ing qual­ity honey, which in­cluded hav­ing the queen bee ex­cluded be­tween the two hives.

“This process will keep the hives healthy,” he said.

Mr Pratt wel­comed the re­cent weather events, say­ing the rain would help more flow­ers around the re­gion to bloom.

For more info on Bund­aberg Honey phone Dar­ren Pratt on 0409 921 600.

PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

API­ARISTS: Ben and Dar­ren Pratt at­tend to their hives on a lo­cal Macadamia farm.

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