WA Honey Festival a sweet celebration

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Honey Festival organiser Leilani Leyland.
Camera IconHoney Festival organiser Leilani Leyland. Credit: Michael Wilson

WA’s $50 million honey industry will be buzzing when the State’s annual Honey Festival event is held at this year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.

The event will open up the fascinating world of the honey bee and its life with thousands of workers in the hive to West Australians.

While honey is one of the world’s most popular toast toppings, few people actually know about the complex process involved in producing it and the environmental threat the industry faces.

Honey Festival organiser Leilani Leyland, who owns Bees Neez based in Beechina near Chidlow, said interest in beekeeping was booming in WA.

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The number of WA hobby beekeepers with less than 50 hives has increased from about 100 to more than 3000 in the past two years.

There are now 160 commercial beekeepers who have more than 50 commercial hives.

“The event is all about trying to educate the public on the importance of bees, how the honey is made and where it comes from,” she said.

“We have various stallholders across the day, and it just works so well having it at the field day.”

First held in 2012, the Honey Festival was born out of a desire to share all things bee and honey, and first held at the House of Honey in Herne Hill.

It has had a number of homes since then, but settled on the Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day in 2019 and looks set to stay.

The Honey Festival coincides with Honey Month, which is held across the whole of May and also celebrates World Bee Day on May 20.

More than 30 events, activities and masterclasses have been held across WA to celebrate the honey industry during the month.

The Honey Festival will bring experts, beekeeping displays and honey-themed stalls to Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.

Competition will be hot in the Honey and Honey Cake Competition, which this year includes an under-18s section for the first time.

Entrants can submit one honey cake, with each tasted and judged by celebrity cook Dale Sniffen on appearance, uniformity, moistness, texture, aroma and flavour.

Due to popularity, the committee has this year added a new category — The Mead Competition.

Mead is an alcoholic bi-product from bees and is honey and water fermented with yeast, but it can also be flavoured with fruits, spices, grains, or hops.

This year’s event will also include a honey cooking demonstration, a presentation by inspiring young beekeeper Luke de Laeter and science experiments with Scitech.

An exclusive honey cooking demonstration will be on show with well-known chef Sniffen and honey and bush tucker tasting will be hosted by Dale Tilbrook, from Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery in Henley Brook.

Young beekeeper Luke de Laeter will be at this year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.
Camera IconYoung beekeeper Luke de Laeter will be at this year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day. Credit: Danella Bevis

This year’s honey and beeswax competition categories include light honey, dark honey, granulated honey (fine and course grain), a comb floating in honey, creamed honey, light yellow beeswax, dark beeswax, beeswax sculpture and comb honey.

The WA Apiarists Society will demonstrate bee hive and frame building as well as training for beekeepers.

UWA’s Collaborative Research Centre for Honey Bee will have plenty of information on bees and research being conducted at the university.

Industry experts will be on hand at Gidgegannup to offer beekeepers plenty of advice.

To be a beekeeper in WA, it is a legal requirement to register with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

It is also important for people to check with their local council whether bees can be kept on their property.

You will find the Honey Festival near the Food and Wine pavilion near Gate 3.

Honey Festival

Date: Sunday May 30

Time: 9am to 4.30pm

Place: Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day

Facebook: Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day or Bees2Honey Festival

Field Day Price: $10 entry for adults, kids under 16 free

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