DARRYL Ryan was raised on a small farm in Haigslea and having chooks, a vegetable garden and beehive on the house block was just a part of life.
Like most rural families it was common practice for everyone to be as self-sufficient as they could.
The trip to the local store was never about getting eggs, tomatoes, and the like.
It was more about picking up the district paper, hearing the local gossip and collecting the mail.
The taste of natural honeycomb honey was a favourite for Darryl, but when he left home having a beehive nearby was not a priority.
That all changed for Darryl about 10 years ago when he bought a nearby vacant block and started using it and other close areas to put hives on.
A few hives quickly turned to 40 and now Darryl harvests more than half a tonne of honey each year.
He sells the honey encrusted in the honeycomb under his label of Darwen Honey which is a combination of his name and that of his wife, Wendy. Beekeeping is not all business for Darryl. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and every Sunday morning after breakfast he hosts locals at his hive filled property who want to know about beekeeping.
“Some are taken aback when I tell them it’s not just about putting it together, leaving it alone and then going out and collecting honey,” he said.
“It’s not a lot of work, but you do need to keep an eye on what’s happening and do some regular upkeeping.”
Rarely does a week go by when Darryl isn’t called out to remove a swarm of bees which has taken up a residence where they shouldn’t be. “It’s never a problem to go and collect them and hopefully remove them in a peaceful manner,” he said.
Darryl has progressed his business to the point where he now has a honey cart which he takes to local events allowing people to taste his home-produced honey and more importantly helps to spread the sweet word about beekeeping.