Meet Ana & Sven from Amber Drop Honey
What was meant to be a little hobby quickly grew into a bit of an obsessionSee our handpicked guides to the HunterValley
BY ALICIA POOLE
All images courtesy of Your Food Collective
Ana and Sven landed in the beekeeping world by chance after a crowdfunding campaign for Flow Hive caught their attention. What followed was a long wind down the Google rabbit hole and they realised that bees were facing a serious problem worldwide.
Inspiration struck, and they decided it was time to do their bit. What originally started as a hobby, with just a few hives in their backyard, quickly grew into their passion project.
Two years into business and Amber Drop Honey is continually helping local bee populations whilst supplying households across the Hunter with some seriously good honey.
We recently caught up with the pair to chat about their mission to save bees and their upcoming crowding funding campaign as part of ING Dreamstarter initiative
You save bees. Tell me a little bit about that.
This also started by chance. We wanted to get bees in the cheapest possible way and we were told that catching a swarm was the way to go. The first time Sven got a call it was to get some bees out of a metal construction in Mangrove Mountain, so not quite your straightforward swarm call. He loved it and kept getting all the calls for the more 'complicated' rescues. If those colonies are in an inconvenient spot and If no beekeeper can remove them, they usually get destroyed, so it felt good to be able to help them.
What is the biggest challenge that Amber Drop currently faces?
Right now, not having found a way to clone ourselves to be able to put all our ideas into practice. Patience is not our strong suit and the list of projects we get excited about grows every day.
Do you love honey?
There are two answers here, I (Ana) like honey and like to use it also in my cooking, e.g. as a replacement for sugar in desserts etc.
Sven is a honey-eating machine, he could have it breakfast, lunch and dinner.
How many bees do you have?
We currently have 130 colonies and we are hoping to double that amount by the end of next year.
Tell me about the honey process.
It is laborious but quite simple. We check our hives regularly in times of high nectar flow and we remove frames that are ready leaving enough honey for the colony's own needs.
We then uncap the frames, put them in a spinner that removes the honey from the frames. It then goes through a coarse strainer and then straight in the bottle. All our honey is raw.
Should people be more aware of bees?
We think by now most people understand the need for bees to help us feed our growing world population and the fact that they are in trouble, but we think that they probably feel there's not much they can do to improve the situation. The reality is that everyone can help in small ways: from planting flowers in your garden, refusing to use pesticides, buying from their local beekeeper to supporting campaigns to reduce the commercial use of pesticides every little bit makes a difference. Bees are a good indicator that we are heading in the wrong direction and we that we should do something about it.
What types of honey do you sell?
We sell regular, creamed, ginger, chilli and coconut honey as well as honeycomb.
Tell me about your crowdfunding campaign.
This campaign is a part of ING Dreamstarter initiative which provides funding support to selected StartSomeGood campaigns which we are extremely proud to be part of. In Australia, we produce one of the cleanest [kinds of] honey in the world but imported, low-priced honey makes it harder for our small beekeepers to make a living and yet, they are the key to keeping bee populations healthy into the future. This project will allow beekeepers to share a facility to extract and bottle their honey as well as a place to learn from each other and from experts improving their chances of having a sustainable business
To support Amber Drop Honey's crowdfunding campaign follow this link.