People have recorded eating raw honey for over 40 centuries and Tweed apiarist, Barry McLean keeps this tradition alive. Barry said “the honey I sell is generally extracted from hives in the Mt Nullum area where there are iron barks, yellow stringy and a host of other suitable trees but in winter we have to move the hives to Hastings Point where the coastal heath and melalueca trees are flowering.”
This healthy natural treat that varies according plant source is available at the markets every week. Barry’s raw honey has been processed at temperatures similar to the bee hive’s internal temperatures. That
means that the healthy enzymes found in honey remain intact so your body can enjoy their goodness.
I was fascinated to learn from Barry that bees precisely control the temperature inside their hives. A special type of bee which acts like a living radiator and is referred to as the “heater bees” have been found to play a crucial role in the survival of honey bee colonies. When temperatures drop to 18 or 19 degrees they use their bodies to provide a unique form of central heating within the hive. The bees create heat by vibrating their abdomens or as scientists explain,they decouple their wings from their muscles so their muscles run at full power without moving the wings and this allows them to raise their body temperature extremely high.
Amazingly Barry said that in hot weather the bees line up in rows where the brood is and fan out the hot air with their wings to cool the hive.
Barry explained that “honey is wild food at its best – I simply decide on a good location for siting the hives, tend them with care and wait until its harvest time. The bees do the foraging, travelling about a 5 – 10 km radius from their hive”.
Why raw honey?
Historically, honey in its natural raw state has been used for a range of healling purposes. Today regular honey from retail shelves has been pasteurised at high temperatures to slow down the natural crystallisation process so that it remains liquid and looks good on the shelf for months. Unfortunately this process also kills the organic food value that honey contains. You might as well eat sugar syrup. So here is an incentive to buy raw honey directly from the bee keeper! Not only will you gain the health benefits of eating honey in its natural state you are helping the bee industry and therefore helping all farmers.
When you come and see Barry don’t forget to read his information about the natural ionising properties of beeswax; a good reason to buy beeswax candles!
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I look forward to seeing you at your farmers market – every Wednesday – 7am until 11am (rain or shine), Murwillumbah Showgrounds via the Harry Williams Gate.