PODCAST EPISODE 22: Matthew Waltner-Toews, Unspun Honey, Mount Gambier, Australia
I love imperfections in nature, especially honey. As a natural beekeeper, I take my hat off to businesses that privilege the wellbeing of the bee over all else. That’s what makes Unspun Honey one of my favourite ventures. Located in the Mount Gambier region, Unspun Honey is owned and operated by Matthew Waltner-Toews and his family – a lovely pack of first-generation, self-taught beekeepers who started in 2014 and now have themselves an ethical business that honours bees, sustainability and the environment. I am inspired by people who don’t come from the world of beekeeping, yet take it on with such gusto and warm-hearted passion that everything they do touch seems to turn to gold (or honey, which is the same thing really): “No-one in our family has, to the best of our knowledge, ever kept bees before”. What gems. And it’s for these reasons I am so thrilled to welcome Matthew to the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast for episode
For anyone that isn’t certain, natural beekeeping aims to replicate, or mimic, the nest structure that would usually be found in the wild. By doing this, the colony is made to feel as comfortable as possible, and the intricate and sophisticated processes carried out by bees can continue. This encourages the superorganism to communicate as effectively as possible and adapt to external conditions as they arise, from a disease to an environmental shift. Therefore, we see that natural beekeeping allows the bees to do all their everyday tasks and activities as naturally as possible – be that reproduce, build honeycomb, make honey or source food. Anti-chemical and pro-nature, this approach knows that bee health and happiness is always central to a good beekeeping practice. As Matthew explains, “Our business is one of only a few at the forefront of natural beekeeping and true, local artisan honey production. We strongly believe that the high quality of our product is a direct result of our unconventional philosophy: compassion and ethical treatment of our bees.”
Listen in to episode 22 to hear Mathew and I speak about Unspun Honey, the remarkable Warre beehive, the characteristics and charm of raw honey, and the beauty of simple beekeeping method.