Daniel Saulwick and his boys, Jasper and Charlie (that’s them in the pic) delivered their Central Victorian honey to the warehouse this week. CERES has been buying Daniel’s honey for years – (we both tried to work out how many but just settled on “years”).
Like a lot of producers Daniel’s not a full-time beekeeper, he says it’s an out of control hobby and uses it to complement his career in complementary medicine. Daniel was 14 when he bought his first hive out of The Trading Post (remember The Trading Post?) from an old Greek man in suburban Melbourne. He took it back to his parents’ hobby farm near Castlemaine and kind of picked up beekeeping as he went.
At first it he says it was about learning to work with the bees but the longer he kept bees and the more he listened to old time apiarists the more he came to understand that beekeeping was as much about trees as it was about bees. The eucalypts in Daniel’s Central Victorian bush have evolved to flower in sequence; first in summer there is the yellow box, then red gum, then in autumn grey box and later stringybark. Knowing where and when to have your hives is everything to a beekeeper.
This past summer the weather has been particularly harsh; with the cold December flowering was late and the bees didn’t get much work done before the brutal heatwaves of February and March kicked in. Then something happened that Daniel had never seen before in his 30 years of beekeeping. Some of his weaker hives, unable to cope with the extreme temperatures, literally melted. Daniel says, Tony Abbott may not believe in climate change but his bees do. Read more …