PODCAST EPISODE 45: Paul Valkenburg from Valkenburg Apiaries, South Australia
What a ride the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast has been so far. Looking all the way back to episode 1 – which was almost a complete year ago now – we chatted to the lovely Simeon Valkenburg from Valkenburg Apiaries. Twelve months later, I am thrilled to introduce you to Simeon’s equally fantastic brother younger brother, who is also a dear friend of mine, Paul Valkenburg.
As you may recall, I met the brothers from Valkenburg Apiaries in springtime in Townsville, when six of us beekeepers got together and volunteered to help with the Asian Honeybee varroa mite incursion that happened there at that time. What a thrill to spend time making new beekeeping friends while doing our bit for the environment. The Valkenburg brothers are beekeepers based in South Australia. Together they run Valkenburg Apiaries, as well as invaluable initiatives such as the Beekeepers Field Day in Renmark, which educates about the vital connection between bees and almond production. Incredibly passionate, dedicated, politically engaged, and hardworking, Simeon and Paul are easily some, if not the, best commercial beekeepers I know in Australia.
Paul and I share a very similar perspective and appreciation for beekeeping; we agree that (to quote Paul) it’s the places the bees take you, the people you get to meet, and the environment you get to work in that make professional beekeeping such a rewarding career. But it’s not always an easy road and it takes time and mistakes to learn the skills of the trade. Paul honestly admitted that he and Simeon made a series of mistakes in their early days as beekeepers, which led to killing all but two of their 30-hive venture: “It was a devastating blow. The reason I am telling this story is to encourage anyone who is struggling with their beekeeping. We’ve all been there.” That’s what I love about the brothers – they are the real deal, they speak from the heart, and they are always learning and developing their beekeeping practice for the good of their business and the environment.
Humble and genuine (“I honestly think Simeon is more observant than me, but I think we make a good team and draw on each other’s strengths”), I am delighted to introduce you to the equally fabulous Valkenburg brother from the duo at Valkenburg Apiaries. Tune in to hear Paul and I chat about the brothers’ thriving business, the ups and downs of beekeeping, and redgums in the Flinders Rangers.