GEt IN TOUCH

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3 Edgar Avenue
Wonga Park, VIC, 3115
Australia

+61 405 221 350

Apiary Made creates handmade lifestyle, health and skincare products that are derived from, and celebrate, the beautiful and health yielding produce of the beehive. 

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Blog posts

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Behind the scenes...summertime honey harvest

Celeste Faltyn

At Apiary Made, honey harvest is a very special time for us, both personally, and as a small business wanting to share the wonders of the beehive with the world.

Before any harvesting, we wait until the bees are ready to impart us with their divine product. This is when there is a surplus of honey to the needs of the hive. Waiting means we never quite know when our next batch of honey will come, but ensures we have happy bees all year round.

honey frame honey harvest

On Celeste’s latest expedition to the hives, located in a remote and tranquil area of Victoria, she found the honey frames were over 80 percent filled and capped. This is the ideal time to take the frames for honey extraction as the bees have dehydrated the honey down to 18% water, and so our honey harvest began. 

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We do the entire process manually: uncapping the frames by slicing off the wax caps the bees seal the honey cells with, which allows the honey to ooze out and then placing the frames in the extractor to spin. A lot of elbow grease goes into spinning the extractor to loosen the honey from the frames and then twice straining the honey to filter impurities. We then decanter it into bottles, ready to be enjoyed by our customers (and us too!). Our honey is not heated; thus a little more effort goes into straining a thicker product, but this means the honey stays pure and honest, exactly as the bees made it.

 

Our first batch of honey poured into new bottles as a delicate, clear, liquid gold. Our second batch however surprised us with a much darker tone, almost a tangerine orange. The difference in colour comes from the type of flowers the bees feed upon, which can change drastically season to season but also day to day. Our honey is ‘wildflower honey’, or ‘local flora’, which means the bees are free to roam near, far and wide, feasting on all the Yarra Valley can offer them. No batch of Apiary Made honey will ever be quite the same in taste, colour or nutrition profile...in the same way wine changes from year to year, our natural honey is always unique. 

Perhaps most exciting this season is that we sent out a sample of jelly bush honey to be tested for its medicinal properties. Jelly bush flower seasonally, so timing-wise our last batch of honey is very likely to have properties of jelly bush. For Celeste, this moment has been a long time coming and we all wait in anticipation to see if we have some glorious jelly bush honey on our hands.

 Apiary Made freshly bottled honey  

Apiary Made freshly bottled honey  

Thank-you bees for supplying us once again with an abundance of goodness.   

Happy garden, Happy bees.

Celeste Faltyn

Gain some points from mother nature and help your harvest flourish by creating a bee friendly habitat in your own backyard.  

Spring has sprung and everything is looking especially bright and fruitful this season at Apiary Made headquarters. Our native gums are flowering nicely, which is bringing the hum of happy bees to our ears. Such a promising season has me thinking, what more could we do in our own backyards to keep bees happy? And not just in Spring, but all year round.   

Even a domestic garden can have a positive impact in terms of supporting bee populations. By simply planning your garden with bees in mind, you can do your part in helping bees to feed and flourish, contributing to a greater bee-friendly ecology and assisting in combating the world’s declining bee population. If you have fruits and vegetables, encouraging bees into your garden will also benefit your harvest enormously. Bees are active pollinators and will help your veggies reach their peak. 

Bees are much like humans: what they need for basic survival is food, water, a safe space and protection from threats. Unfortunately, threats to bees come in many forms, especially to Australian native bees. Significant threats include pesticides that contaminate the bee’s food, the destruction of their natural habitats including a decrease in flowering areas due to urbanisation, as well as biosecurity threats from alien pests and diseases.

So, what can you do to help in your own garden?  

Avoid using pesticides: Once used on plants, pesticides will contaminate the pollen and nectar of the plant and killing the bees when they go to feed.

Make sure your garden is blooming all year round: It is very important to let your plants go to seed, allowing them to flower, thus allowing the bees to feed on the pollen. Bees require flowers all year, so when planning your planting, ensure you pick a selection of species that will flower in different seasons.

Plant attractive plants: A simple tip is to plant plants that produce high quality pollen and nectar, thus attracting bees. You should try food based plants i.e. herbs, vegetables, berries, shrubs and fruit trees. My bees especially love the rocket that grows in my front garden. You can plant herbs such as Lavender, Lemon balm, Oregano, Peppermint, Marjoram, Garden Sage, Thyme, Borage, Winter SavoryCelosia, Coriander, Basil and Nemesia. Shrubs bees love include Grevillea montis-cole, Flowering currants, Rasberry, Bluebuerry, Gungarra, Hairpin Banksia, Pincushion hakea, Passionfruit, Guava, Macadamia, Carambola and Banana. Some tree species that work include Portugal Laurel, Lemon, Apple, Large-fruited yellow gum, Red cap gum, Hickson, Mandarin, Plum, Persimmon, Lemon scented myrtle, Lie, Avocado and Bee bee tree.  

 Flowering rocket 

Flowering rocket 

Mix species: Just like us, bees have different tastes so including a mix of native Australian flowers and exotic species will ensure your garden caters for all kinds of bees.

Provide a water source: Help your bees stay hydrated and provide them a source of water. This could simply be a bird bath- just ensure the bath is deep enough the water doesn’t stagnate and breed mosquitoes but shallow enough that the bees cannot drown. A simple way to combat this is to fill your birdbath with some pebbles or stones.  

Support homeless bees and make a bee hotel: Provide bees with safe habitats by creating a man-made bee nesting site that can act as a shelter for bees whose homes have been destroyed. Use non-treated wood and try shelter it from the weather.

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All these little steps can make a huge difference in achieving a healthy habitat in your own backyard. If you want to go one step further and acquire your own hives, there is plenty of advice out there online and a great beekeeping community just waiting for you to join. In the meantime, happy planting! 

xo Celeste

Spring Bee Update

Celeste Faltyn

Ethical bee keeping is at the heart of Apiary Made. None of our beautiful products would be possible without the health and happiness of our bees. Every season brings its own challenges, especially the colder months. 

Winter for bees is much the same as it is for us... stay inside when it's wet and windy and keep warm. If there happens to be a day where the sun is shining, they will venture out when it gets to around 14 degrees celsius and make the most of it while they can. Due to the wet Spring last year, it was one of the worst honey production seasons for many years as bees don't come out when it's raining, it's too tricky for them to collect pollen and nectar when everything is so wet. 

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Bees use the honey they store for food during the colder months when they don't have as much to forage on. Therefore, we didn't harvest any honey last season as we didn't want to leave them short during Winter, we only harvest honey when it is surplus to the hives needs. We wanted our bees to be able to sail through Winter and be as strong as possible as we welcome Spring. We also have many young hives and wanted to support them as much as possible to become strong, healthy and more established.

Fingers crossed it will be a great season for them, it has started off well, with lots of gum flowering in our area. Hopefully we will have some beautiful, pure honey to enjoy in the next few months.

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xo Celeste 

 

 

Why exfoliating your skin is so important

Celeste Faltyn

The Body Scrubs in the Apiary Made range are not only gorgeous to use, but they play a very important role in the health and appearance of your skin. 

Exfoliating your skin not only gives you instantly smoother skin that feels great, but it is also an important part of keeping your skin healthy and therefore looking and feeling as good as it can be. The body has a natural exfoliating process in that when it generates new cells it sheds old cells, but as we age this process begins to slow. As old skin cells accumulate, they tend to make the skin look dull and rough and can cause blemishes. It also mean that moisturisers are less able to penetrate the skin, reducing their effectiveness. So using and exfoliant refreshes your skin, assisting it to regenerate and helps you to love how your skin feels. 

When using scrubs be gentle, it only takes a light touch to remove the dead skin cells and limit your exfoliation to one or twice a week. Anymore that that and it could irritate and damage your skin’s natural balance. 

Apiary Made have three scrubs, all of which contain the superb benefits of Jelly Bush honey. The anti-bacterial properties cleanse, the anti-oxidant neutralise free radicals, the natural humectant properties attract moisture to the skin and the anti-inflammatory properties help sooth and protect sensitive or troubled skins. We have the Honey, Citrus and Sea Salt, Coconut and Mandarin and Watermelon and Vanilla. The organic cane sugar and Dead Sea salts will gently exfoliate and the other ingredients have added benefits, and all will help you to treat yourself and your skin beautifully. 

Enjoy!

With love, Celeste. 

Beinenstich (Bee-sting) Cake... You're welcome!!

Celeste Faltyn

It is said that this cake is named after the baker who invented it, who while baking the cake was stung by a bee attracted by the honey topping. 

Beinenstich or Bee-sting cake is one of my favourites and a traditional German dessert, a nod to my heritage. It is sweet but has a lovely balance of flavour and is simple to bake. Only trouble is now… who’s going to eat it all? 

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Serves 12

Filling

500gm cream cheese, softened

250gm ricotta cheese

zest of 2 lemons

2 tbs lemon juice

125gm icing sugar, sifted

Cake

300gm plain flour, sifted

55gm caster sugar

2 tsp dried yeast

185ml milk, at room temperature

2 eggs, at room temperature

60gm softened butter, diced

½ tsp salt

Honey almond topping

90gm butter, diced

50gm honey

75gm caster sugar

40ml thickened cream

150gm falked almonds

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius. Grease and line the base of a 23cm (9 inch) spring-form cake tin.

For the filling, place ingredients in an electric mixer fitted with a flat paddle and mix until just combined. Refrigerate until needed.

For the cake, place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix with a flat paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the batter in to the cake tin and spread out evenly with a spoon or spatula. Place the tin in a clean plastic bag and tie to enclose. Leave in a warm, draught-free place and allow to rise for 1-1.5 hours.

Meanwhile, make the topping. Place butter, honey, sugar and cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the mixture turns a slightly darker shade of yellow. Add almonds and stir through. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until the cake dough has finished rising.

Starting at the edges, gently spread small amounts of the topping evenly over the cake at a time. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes on a wire rack set over a baking tray to catch any caramel drips. Release the side of the cake tin and remove the baking paper. Leave until completely cool before slicing.

Use a long serrated knife to halve the cake horizontally. Place the top half on a flat plate. Spread the filling gently and evenly over the bottom half of the cake using a spatula and cover with the top layer of the cake.

Beinenstich are best eaten on the day they are baked. 

Enjoy!