The fynbos on the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve are one of the many unique aspects of the beautiful land we are situated on. Not only are these stunning florae photogenic, but they also assist us in one of the many enterprise development programmes that the Foundation utilises in our efforts to become more self-sustainable.
In 2012, the Siyakhula Growing the Futures farm began our Honey Making venture in which we harvest honey that is 100% unique to our home in the Cape Floral Kingdom. By situating our hives in secluded areas on the Nature Reserve, we are attracting bees that collect nectar from the fynbos that are only found at Grootbos.
Each box contains handcrafted frames designed with honeycombs made of recycled beeswax. By creating these pre-existing honeycombs, it allows the bees to build their hives more quickly. Once their hives have been constructed, they are able to fill each comb with honey. The first step in harvesting our honey is to smoke the hive. By smoldering leaves and pine needles in a smoker, we are able to naturally relax the bees so that we can safely remove the hives inside.
After we have relaxed the bees, we can remove the frames from the box. Each frame must be individually combed through in order to release the honey stored in each capsule of the honeycombs. Once the frames have been combed through, we place them into an extracting machine. This machine spins the frames to shake the honey from the combs, draining it into the bottom of the machine.
From there, the honey drips through a spout at the bottom into a container. When all of the honey has been released, the container is stored in a heating cabinet. This special cabinet is designed to restore the honey to its original temperature. When the honey is ready to be packaged, we then remove it from the container and pour it into a sifting device to remove any unwanted bits. By utilising this process, we are able to maintain all of the nutrients and healthy pollen inside of the honey rather than using chemicals like many other honey producers use.
Once filtered, we package and label each jar by hand up at the farm. From there, it is transported over to the Grootbos Lodges to be used in the kitchen. In addition, the honey is available for sale at the Lodges and serves to provide an income to Foundation projects.