New business creating a buzz around Ballina
INTRODUCED to beekeeping 13 years ago, Tony Parancin's passion for the industry has pushed him to share that love with others.
Located in Ballina, Naturezone Busy Little Bee offers all natural premium local honey, fresh fruit and vegetable produce and other goods you would get at the farmers market - now in the convenience of a store.
Along with different varieties of honey, there's locally grown produce including fruit and vegetables, nuts, difference soaps, sauces and relishes.
The beekeeper started as an amateur 13 years ago while he was working with children, people with disabilities and mental health issues.
"I always wanted to produce honey ... so I bought a hive and now I've got just under 100," Mr Parancin said.
"I'm looking at running 2000 to 3000 hives in the next couple of years."
Mr Parancin started wholesaling six years ago and got in to the local market run about 14 months ago, which he said is now very successful after a slow start.
He said being swamped working from home pushed him to open up a shop.
"I've been open now for four weeks, it's been a really, really good response from the public they've been very supportive.
"I work in South Ballina and Uralba region for my honey and I do a complete cold extract: no heat treating, no pasteurising, no filtering, no straining, no blending.
"I only use glass jars because I believe they are really fresh. I sterilise all them with hot water and steam treatment to make sure they are clean.
"I'm a bit suspicious about plastic jars because generally a lot of them are made in China and I don't know what the conditions are in the factories and when they are brought over in shipping containers you cant actually sterilise the jars with chemical heat because it will break down the plastics.
" Because I don't heat treat or pasteurise, you're getting all the raw goodness of raw honey...it's got all the live enzymes that are really good. I try to find pristine conditions for my bees and keep them away from farms and people as much as I can."
"Once you process honey you are basically ending up with sugars.
"There's a lot of fake honey being imported into this country, a lot of it is being diluted with rice syrup and it's on our shelves. Australian people are being ripped off."
Naturezone Busy Little Bee currently stocks bloodwood honey and an active honey called jellybush, which is Australia's manuka.
Also on his shelves you'll find wax, soaps, lipbalms and glosses, furniture polish, leather polish, surfboard wax, hand, body and face creams on the way - all natural honey-based products.
Naturezone Busy Little Bee at 20 Cherry St Ballina, open 10am-3pm weekdays.