Mitch Mitchell: A sweet success

BEE'S KNEES: Apiarist and honey farmer Mitch Mitchell shows off a section of his hive at his Lawrence property.
BEE'S KNEES: Apiarist and honey farmer Mitch Mitchell shows off a section of his hive at his Lawrence property. Melinda Stanley

THERE are no two ways about it; Lawrence honey farmer Mitch Mitchell is sweet on bees.

And the budding apiarist says he is lucky to have an amazing mentor in 76-year-old Frank Biddle.

Together, they tend to the bees from dawn to dusk, building relationship with these intriguing creatures and constantly being fascinated by their intricate social behaviours. Their days consist of warm hives, the soft hum of bees, and being connected to the earth.

With the average age of the Australia farmer being 56, Mitch and Frank's relationship is an important one.

By passing on his knowledge about bees to the younger generation, Frank is helping secure the production of local, raw, non-corporatised honey.

Mitch said supermarket honey brands typically bought up honey producers, putting pressure on farmers to lower their prices and taking their livelihood away.

"It is scary to see how much power they have over the little guy, and this is particularly dangerous as bees are what makes the world go around," he said.

"When we see bees as resources, rather than an integral part of human and planet survival, we threaten the ability for plants to pollinate, destroying our ecosystems."

He added most commercial honey was often heavily processed, heated to high temperatures and homogenized, reducing potential health benefits.

Raw honey, on the other hand, contains predigested nectar and pollen from the trees and flowers in the area. Once extracted, you are left with a golden liquid, full of pollen, amino acids, enzymes and goodness.

Mitch's own liquid gold comes from a variety of hives around the Clarence Valley area, each with a different taste depending on what flowers and trees the bees are gathering the pollen from.

Every day he works, his bees continue to amaze him.

"Bees are the most genial, organised and wondrous creatures in all creation," he said.

"It is so nice to be a part of this cycle and connected to these little dudes that keep the earth making love."

Topics:  bees honey

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