Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bee One Third - Neighbourhood honey

One of the things I love about blogging is that I've had some amazing opportunities come my way which have led to some super interesting situations.  So when an email arrived for me one day marked 'An invitation to something special', it was an opportunity that was way too good to pass up.

I'd recently been in Melbourne on a foodie safari and while we were wandering around, we'd come across a sustainable living 'green fair', which was pretty awesome.  There were a range of speakers on sustainable topics, but one that got us to stay still long enough to listen was about bee collectives and how cities around the world are now creating bee hives.  The speaker went on to mention that the diversity of pollen in a city far outstrips the level of pollen in farms.  Apparently there is a bee collective at Federation Square in Melbourne where the honey collected has been tested for over 200 pollen types.

Fast forward to my invitation that was too good to pass up and I was off to visit one of Brisbane's burgeoning bee collectives - Bee One Third.  The day was meticulously planned out with a group of bloggers where we would get to tour the beehives on top of the Gerard's building, before heading over to Jocelyn's Provisions for a 'deliciously honeyed' morning tea, followed by a demonstration of a honey extraction.  I was pretty excited.

We met at Gerard's at 930am, before getting kitted out in some protective gear and a bit of a rundown from Jack Wilson Stone of Bee One Third.  We made our way up the internal stairs of the building and found ourselves on the top of the world (well, James Street anyway) on a beautifully sunny Saturday morning.  We landed on a staging platform with a clear view of the bee hives before Jack produced a bee covered rack of honeycomb for us to hand around.  Jack explained that in their natural habitat the James Street bees were incredibly docile, so much so that Jack had never been stung by one.

It was then time to get 'up close and personal' with the bee hives and I was front and centre as the first group of us followed Jack along the walkway so we could see the inner workings of the beehive.  I'd never seen a beehive up close and it was fascinating to watch the bees around the hive and in the racks creating honey.  The process of bees collecting pollen from trees and flowers and then converting that pollen to honey is a magnificent mystery and watching it in action was incredible. 

The next step in the process was for us to head over to Jocelyn's Provisions for morning tea, which included some wonderfully cooked cakes with honey, as well as sampling different 'flavours' of honey from Bee One Third.  The flavour of honey is dependent upon the pollen collected and no two batches taste exactly the same and are dependent upon the flowering flora.  Jack then set about the extraction process, which saw some of the group practice pulling the honey from the racks.  It was again extremely interesting to see how the honey is spun from the honeycomb racks by centrical force.

While I could bang on all day about the process and how amazing it was, I think I'll let the photos from the day do the speaking for me.  If you ever get the chance to check out a local honey producer then definitely jump at it.

**I was a guest of James Street Marketing for this event

The bee hives on top of James Street
They may look small but they produced over 120kg of honey last extraction
Jack telling us about the beehives while we're dressed for protection
The CBD seems so close 
Up close and personal with a rack of bees
They are pretty docile
Closer to the hives, there are more bees
The bees only live for six weeks, so there is a big turnover 
Jack sure knows how to handle bees
The bees are born in the honeycomb and then fill them with sweet honey
The racks sit in the hives
We never got close to being stung
Moving onto Jocelyn's Provisions for some morning tea - yum
The honeycomb looks amazing
You can eat the honeycomb like a natural chewing gum - its good for you
The honeycomb racks are full of honey, but need to be extracted 
Jack cuts off the outer layer of wax so the honey can be churned
Jessalyn from FeedMeNowBrisbane gets into the act
A simple bread knife is the best way of cutting the wax - heat damages the honey, so the knife is critical
Then into the specially made barrel and centrifugal force does the rest 
Then turn the tap and the golden honey flows out 
Natural honey can last forever and the Bee One Third honey is as natural as you can get
A little pack of honey goodness to remember our magical visit to Bee One Third and Jocelyn's Provisions

Jocelyn's Provisions on UrbanspoonJocelyn's Provisions

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