I love Tasmania. Over the past few years, I have been lucky to pop across Bass Strait relatively regularly to hang out with my bee-mates in Tassie – young and older, this beekeeping community has a great appreciation and understanding of the island’s unique and precious environment.
It sure is a remarkable place, one of the most spectacular on Earth in my opinion, and that’s why I am so pleased to welcome fifth-generation Tasmanian beekeeper and honey magician, Lindsay Bourke from Australian Honey Products to the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast.
To my knowledge, Lindsay is the beekeeper with the largest number of colonies in Tasmania, having over 4000 hives! That’s epic beekeeping! In Tassie, there is only a 10-week window where the bees can collect nectar to make honey, and the three biggest crops for honey are manuka, leatherwood and clover.
Now Lindsay is an award-winning honey producer – for example, in 2018, he won first place in the international prize at the Australian Bee Congress for his leatherwood and light amber honey varieties as well as his honey mead. How does he do it? Commitment and passion that leads to experience and success.
You see, Lindsay started Australian Honey Products way back in 1966 with just 200 hives (still a decent number!); he cleverly purchased properties with his income from the business, and now is a leading property owner in Launceston.
After a hiatus from beekeeping and honey production for some years, Lindsay returned to the land of liquid gold in 2002 when he made Australian Honey Products an award-winning enterprise, exporting his product to countries such as Korea, Japan, Tahiti, Germany, Jordan and United Kingdom.
The company has expanded in many ways, taking on new product lines, which has enabled Lindsay to cleverly diversify his business by adding honey beverages, honey ales and honey meads to the company’s product list.
Also, in 2008, Lindsay did something special when he purchased the oldest apiary in Tasmania – the Sheffield Honey Farm, formerly H L Jones & Sons, Barrington Apiary – which was established in 1898.
As a business owner myself, I find Lindsay’s story truly inspiring – his smart business choices, willingness to take risks and consistent work in a variety of areas makes me think about what I might like to do in the future. I hope that these choices, made over the course of his career, are also interesting for other small business owners listening to the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast.
Tune in and listen to Lindsay and I chat about his path, Australian Honey Products, and how different it is keeping bees in Tasmania to keeping on the Australian mainland due to the weather conditions. Also, find out why Lindsay has a love for the Braula fly (controversial I know!), saying that he finds the little devils cute in their own weird way!
Listen to the podcast here.