In 2015 Moss and Andrew McCallum left city careers in mechanical engineering and interior design to become migratory apiarists, a.k.a. beekeepers.
Eight years later Moss, Andrew and 3 year old daughter, Pippa, manage around 700 beehives or 30-million bees from their off-grid base in Marraweeney, Taungurung country in North-East Victoria.
In the footsteps of Moss’s beekeeping father they follow eucalypt flowering cycles across river flats up to alpine areas down to desert scrub and into box-ironbark open forest on a journey from the Strathbogie Tablelands across the state and into Southern NSW.
Some Eucalypts flower every year, others every 2 years, others every 4 years and some are less predictable. Watching different trees in different forests as they travel usually Moss and Andrew have a good idea where their hives will be 12 months in advance.
When flowering is finished hives are moved in the cool of the night – bees can change locations anything from two to nine times depending on the season.
The picture of Moss and Andrew below was taken just before a two and a half hour night drive to shift hives.
About a quarter of Moss and Andrew ’ apiaries are certified organic.
Organic certification means no synthetic chemicals or antibiotics, bees must also be located at least 5km from conventional crops, orchards and urban gardens – no easy feat.
Moss and Andrew have hive sites in Lake Eildon National Park where the bees forage on the Slender Tea-Tree, and in the Rushworth State forest whem the Red Ironbark is in flower.
Ther favourite place is the Strathbogie State Forest where they hold a dozen public land bee site licences.
A licence is a lease for a hive site with an 800 metre buffer ensuring beekeepers are not putting bees too close to each other.
With dozens of bee sites The Strathbogie Forest is an important resource for beekeepers who bring hives from all over the state during flowering season.
Until recently the Strathbogies were being logged reducing the area bees could pollinate and collect nectar. Bushfire is another constant worry, as is the spread of the varroa mite which arrived in NSW 15 months ago.
Once they get back home Moss and Andrew cold extract and cold bottle their honey at an ambient temperature.
Why cold extraction and bottling? Honey is loaded with beneficial enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, to get it out of the comb and into jars easily regular table honey is heated up destroying a lot of the beneficials in the process.
Cold extraction also preserves the individual flavour of the different honeys that come from all the different flowers.
To help people find their favorite Moss and Andrew have developed a scale rating strength and sweetness from one to five cute hexagons on the jars of their many changing varieties.
Right now they have mild and creamy Grey Box, a light and fruity Ironbark and a unique Slender Tea-Tree with Ironbark that’s stronger with a hint of gingerbread.
Just imagine, your groceries and your fizz being delivered in one neat (returnable and refillable) package.
With the warm spring weather they are flying out the door and then back in the door to be refilled and so on.
Refills are $10 a pop – far cheaper than your big brand equivalents.
Fits Sodastream and all regular soda makers, except for the recently released Sodastream Quick Connect models.
Have a great week