Weary cou­ple say good­bye to sweet life’s buzz

Albany Extra - - News - Shan­non Smith

Roger and Julie Tsch­ab­o­tar have been pro­duc­ing top-qual­ity honey for more than 25 years, but this sum­mer marks the end of The Honey Shop in Al­bany.

Mr Tsch­ab­o­tar said the de­ci­sion to move on from the pro­duce they had ded­i­cated their lives to was made on the ba­sis they had both turned 67 this year and that the phys­i­cal work­load re­quired a daily com­mit­ment.

“I have been around bees for 64 years, and when Julie and I got mar­ried we started be­ing com­mer­cial bee­keep­ers in 1992, and we have been com­mer­cial keep­ers since then,” he said.

“We are very thank­ful for Paul Lionetti, who gave us an out­let to put our prod­uct into his store, and that in­spired us as he gave us a lot of ex­po­sure.

“We be­gan sell­ing from our door with dif­fer­ent types of hon­eys and then we started to grow and in 2004 we bought a prop­erty to move for­ward as a re­tail out­let with di­rect pub­lic ac­cess.

“From ev­ery year it just got big­ger and big­ger when peo­ple de­cided they wanted the nat­u­ral honey rather than ar­ti­fi­cial jams and things like that.” With 200 hives, the bee­keep­ers can col­lect about three tonnes of honey from their bees ev­ery 20 days dur­ing a good honey flow, depend­ing on weather and sea­son.

When the pair first opened the shop, they sold about 100kg of honey through­out their out­lets in a week, but now have up to 400kg of the prod­uct go out each week.

With up to 18 va­ri­eties avail­able, Mr Tsch­ab­o­tar said one of his great­est joys was help­ing peo­ple re­dis­cover the food for what it re­ally was rather than the honey pro­duced by big com­pa­nies.

Mr Tsch­ab­o­tar said WA was known as the clean­est, green­est and health­i­est place for bee­keep­ing in the world, which was a rea­son why his prod­uct had gained such a high rep­u­ta­tion.

“WA has a unique flora and cli­mate, and we can have fit and healthy bees all year round,” he said. “We felt that we had a duty of re­spect to all of our cus­tomers that our prod­uct could stay in Al­bany, but some­one has bought the whole busi­ness and is tak­ing it else­where in the State, and that’s the next best thing.”

The Honey Shop will now op­er­ate out of Pem­ber­ton, and honey from the same bees will be sup­plied to some out­lets in Al­bany. The Honey Shop will of­fi­cially cease trad­ing in Al­bany on Jan­uary 31, and the stall at the Al­bany Farm­ers Mar­ket will wind up on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 22.

While Mr Tsch­ab­o­tar will no longer pro­duce honey, he will con­tinue to pro­vide his decades of knowl­edge to lo­cal bee­keep­ers for a fee. The Tsch­ab­o­tars thanked the com­mu­nity for their years of sup­port.

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

The Honey Shop's Roger and Julie Tsch­ab­o­tarhave de­cided to re­tire.

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