When Mama Chai set out to create our famous Calmer Chai nearly 20 years ago, she knew one of the most important things to get right was going to be the honey. It was crucial the honey was LOCAL first and foremost, premium and au naturel.
Archibalds Honey is just about as local as we can get, being less than 10km from our Moorabbin warehouse. But that’s definitely not the only reason we chose Archibalds to be our honey supplier from day one; they are also a small, 4th generation, family run business with strong ethical values around their beekeeping and business growth.
The honey itself is produced away from city pollutants and gathered in Victorian forests. The honey is minimally processed keeping all the glorious nutrients intact.
Our relationship with Archibalds has remained strong over the years, which is a testament to the quality of their craft, their kind and loyal staff and their commitment to the safety and preservation of Mother Earth’s bees. I sat down with Stuart from Archibalds to learn a little more about his life with bees:
What is a unique fact about bees that people may not know?
You are eating bee vomit, not poo. Maybe that one's not particularly fun....
Bee's also never sleep. They spend their night 'fanning' the honey with their wings to bring the moisture levels down before they seal the honeycomb.
What is your earliest memory of bees and/or honey?
Growing up with a beekeeper as a father means every family holiday is a holiday/tree spotting trip. Dad would always be driving along looking at the trees instead of the road, and if he ever saw any beehives he would always have a look at them to see how they were going.
It also meant I learnt to hand label buckets at an extremely young age as my sisters and I hand labelled all the buckets for Safeway until we purchased a machine to do it when I was in secondary school.
Have you got any favourite recipes or ways to use your honey?
My favourite recipe for honey at the moment would have to be: Marshmallows- standard recipe except you don't use any flavouring and you substitute around half the sugar for honey.
Apart from that, I have moved into the honey tasting role now at Archibalds (though I have many years to go before being as proficient as my father or grandfather were). This means eating honey outside of work is not as common for me anymore! The only thing I regularly have honey with is my breakfast.
How have you seen the industry change over the years?
Since I have only been active in the industry for 15 years, I will mingle my own thoughts with my parents -
The single biggest hurdle we have had to face over the last 60 years has been the tide of imported honey flooding the marketplace. Trying to find ways to compete with products produced in much different conditions to our own has been tough.
We decided early on that we would rather go broke than compromise our product, and there have been stints where we have made no profit for over 5 years in a row because of our stance.
Looking forward, we are bracing ourselves for the inevitable incursion of the varroa mite.
However, in more recent times, there has been a definite shift back to local goods, which of course is great to see and great for Australia's economy long term.
We are extremely thankful for all of our customers who have continued to support us through covid.
We are so proud to partner with Archibalds and hope you taste the love and care they take when drinking our Calmer Chai.
Have you tried our Chai spiced Hiranya Honey yet? Add a sweet & Spicy hit to your chai, tea or tisane, spread on toast, or use in cooking to add a sweet, spiced element to baked goods.