Kangaroo Island has had a history of honey production for almost as long as it has been settled and the same protection given to the non-genetically modified crop production of the Island also protects its honey bees. With the rapid growth in non-genetically modified high oil canola production came a unique opportunity when representatives of Kangaroo Island Pure Grain learned of the popularity of canola honey amongst Japanese consumers.
Premium honey is prized for its distinctive flavour, which it owes to the combination of plant species from which the bees collect nectar. Amongst the most famous Australian honeys are those derived from species such as blue gum, yellow box and white clover. Canola honey is quite different, being very light in colour and subtly flavoured. It is much prized and difficult to get.
Kangaroo Island Pure Grain has teamed up with Island Beehive, a consortium of nine beekeepers and organic honey producers to create a perfect sustainability strategy. The bees are assisting the canola farmers by pollinating their crops, while the increasing canola crop is helping to produce pure, non-genetically modified canola honey. The result is significantly increased production to meet demand in the order of 60 tonnes of honey for this specialised premium market.
Kangaroo Island’s Ligurian bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) are believed to be the last pure remaining stock of this bee found anywhere in the world, naturally protected by the Island's marine boundary and the declaration of the Island as a bee sanctuary in 1885. Ligurian bees are prized for their docile and industrious natures, producing a superb range of honeys from the flora on Kangaroo Island as well as pollen and propolis.