BUZZ OFF: Sweet deal ruined by roadside robberies
TAMMY Gardner and her family have 500 boxes of bees spread throughout the Clarence Valley, but there’s a set of five she’s particularly close to which live in her front yard.
“They’re my pets,” she laughed. “Take me to the apiary, and they don’t like me, but these ones understand me.”
So it’s with sadness that Ms Gardner has had to take away the result of her pets’ hard work just metres away, with her Raw Bee Company roadside stand continually robbed over the past three months.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “Not only do we have to miss out, but our customers miss out as well.”
The family started the small honey business from a picnic table and a few tubs of honey two years ago, and have built the roadside honey stall into an icon of Yamba’s main road.
“Everyone loves it — the tourists come here, and they’ll be taking photos of the stands,” Ms Gardner said.
“They’ll even take a photo of their honey on top of the hives.”
Over time, Ms Gardner has put more products out into the stall, which was run off an honesty system, but said she’d lost more than half her product over the past three weeks.
“I just can’t do it,” she said. “I’d come out, and there’d be nothing in the box and so much stuff gone.
“It’s such a shame. You look at Yamba, and there are so many honesty systems; we have friends up the road … they sell vegetables and sunflowers, and even our neighbours in the holidays put out a line of surfboards.
“It’s like driving back in time, and that’s what so many people say — especially the oldies — it reminds them of when they were a child.”
It’s not the only setback the family business has had, with the fires of last year devastating their production.
“We went from producing 60 tonnes of honey to three,” she said. “That’s a massive loss, and we’ve got a little bit of it back, but who knows with the trees.
“They’re all budding again, but what’s to say there’s anything in the bud?”
For now, the roadside honey is gone, replaced by a doorbell customers can use for service.
“We will try to introduce the honesty system back,” Ms Gardner said.
“I love the comments from the customers.
“It will definitely come back, but I’ll have to set up some surveillance.”
Raw Bee Co’s honey is sold at their stand on Yamba Road, as well at local markets and in Maclean IGA.