Beekeepers start over in a great, big honey shed

ABOVE: Tammy and Mitch McLennan at The Honey Shed in Tabulam.

Susanna Freymark

Tammy and Mitch McLennan are busy – busy as bees.

Six weeks ago, they opened The Tabulam Honey Shed on the Bruxner Highway near the bridge.

They have 150 hives supplying Ironbark honey, coastal honey, Manuka honey and more. Some of the hives are in Tabulam and at the coast near New Italy.

“The last six  months we have produced six to seven varieties of honey,” Mitch said.

Beekeeping is complex, he said.

“You have to be able to apply yourself. We look after the bees really well.”

This made the death of thousands of their bees in the floods last year even more heartbreaking.

Mitch and Tammy had spent their savings to build a $25,000 shed for their burgeoning honey business in Yamba.

Mitch with the bee hives. Photo: Contributed

The shed was finished a few months before the floods came.

“It took months to clean up after the floods,” Mitch said.

“I lost $20,000 of honey.”

Tammy said she cried for days.

“It was our first year out by ourselves as a business.”

Their honey business started as a roadside stall in Yamba. It quickly grew and soon they were selling honey at the markets.

The move to Tabulam has given them a permanent outlet while they continue to sell at the Lismore markets. Their company is the Raw Bee Co.

With their three children helping in The Honey Shed, the family is settling into life out west.

The shop sells beeswax candles made by Tammy. Photos of bees are for sale and there is a television screen with information about how bees make honey. There are plans to provide more local produce.

For 10 years, bees and honey have been their life. Tammy used to be an aged care dementia nurse and Mitch was a music teacher.

Now everything is about the bees.

Check out The Honey Shed open seven days a week 9am–3pm.

Phone 0429 180 480 to order honey or sourdough bread that Tammy sells.

More information at their Facebook page.

Buy a variety of honey from The Honey Shed. Photos: Susanna Freymark

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