Coldfusion blog

Wildlife restoration project leads to cold fusion honey activity for Sunshine Coast beekeepers

When Leisa and Tony Sams bought a farm and set out to reconnect the bushland that had been divided for a century, they never imagined where it would take them.

Seven years later, they produce an award-winning range of pure raw honey infused with flavors such as organic ginger, turmeric, lemon myrtle, rose petals, chilli, cinnamon, lavender, lime, cloves vanilla, truffle and black garlic.

“We actually didn’t start out out of a desire to have a honey business,” Ms. Sams said.

“We did a Land for Wildlife project on our 300 acres [121 hectares] in Peachester on the Stanley River to re-vegetate and secure a wildlife corridor from our back ridgeline to the river.

“With the help of a grant and environmental officers from the Sunshine Coast Council, we sat down and went, ‘Let’s look at pollination and possibly get some bees to help with that’.”

Leisa Sams won a Nuffield Fellowship to investigate stationary beekeeping operations.(Provided by: Leisa Sams)

‘Bee Girl’ makes the buzz

Ms Sams – also known as ‘Bee Girl’ – started with five hives and now cares for around 400 colonies of carefully placed bees on properties from Gympie to Noosa and the Sunshine Coast to Moreton Bay .

“We wanted to do it differently because we ate it [the honey] and give it to our family and friends,” she said.

“So we don’t use chemicals, we don’t heat the honey and it basically grew from there.

“We bring the flavors of the Sunshine Coast into our honey.

A close up of a honey stick resting on top of a glass jar of honey with dried rose petals.
Organic honey infused with rose petals.(Provided by: Leisa Sams)

“Mike, my cousin, was our first client with a health food store.”

Today, their cold fusion products are sold in independent supermarkets, grocery stores, health food stores, butchers and at Yandina’s Ginger Factory, where staff first encouraged them to infuse their honey. golden with natural flavors.

Food Safety Key

Certified chemical-free edible flower grower Caz Owens hosts Hum Honey beehives on her property in Eudlo and supplies dried organic rose petals and petal mixes to Samses.

“We love having Leisa’s bee girls here in our farm gardens – they are treasures,” Ms Owens said.

“With the current situation of bee-killing varroa mites and the potential massive loss of hives in Australia, it is essential to ensure that we protect our environment.”

Caz Owens smiles at a blooming rose bush
Caz Owens grows chemical-free edible flowers on the Sunshine Coast.(Rural ABC: Jennifer Nichols)

Cold honey extraction preserves natural nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, pollen and antioxidants.

Honeycomb with a native flower on top
The Sams also sell fresh raw honeycombs.(Provided by: Leisa Sams)

No syrups or artificial flavors are used.

“Our honey is bioactive, so even our standard eucalyptus honey is full of great nutrients that are effective against bacteria, molds and yeasts,” Ms. Sams said.

“We also make manuka which we have tested by the Sunshine Coast University Honey Lab.”

When asked if bacteria could be a problem without pasteurisation, Ms Sams said food safety was the first thing she investigated.

Honeycomb drizzle over a soft cheese with capers and other cheese shots.
Hum Honey’s raw honeycomb paired with Woombye Cheese.(Provided: Woombye Cheese)

“I went to Laboratoires JL [an accredited food safety facility] right across from Ginger Factory and did micro tests,” she said.

“We have done all shelf life testing and we do this as part of our quality assurance program.”

Love for a “hard” industry

The Sams are members of the region’s Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), a not-for-profit industry group that encourages collaboration, innovation and drives trade.

“I have the deepest respect for them,” said general manager Emma Greenhatch.

“It’s a tough industry and beekeeping is particularly tough.

“Yes, they have their part to play as a one-man business in sustainability, quality and ethics, but Leisa always looks at it from an industry perspective and how she can transfer what she learns to others.”

A property where you can see separate areas of bush in the distance.
The Sams are working to create a wildlife corridor to the Stanley River in Peachester.(Provided by: Leisa Sams)

Last year, Ms Sams was awarded a prestigious Nuffield Fellowship to study advanced management methods for stationary beekeeping operations to improve efficiency and yield, and recently traveled to the UK to continue her research. .

“It’s been a steep learning curve with fires, drought, COVID shutdowns and flooding. We’ve had ups and downs,” Ms Sams said.

“Ultimately, you do this for the love of connecting with the environment and the networks within the food industry and organic farmers. We have created lasting friendships.”