*Produced by SilverKris for The Honey Colony*
While the superfood potential and healing properties of honey have long been present in public consciousness, most people don’t realise that not all honeys are created equal. “The harvesting process, geographical location and tree species [all] have a huge impact on the quality, flavour and anti-microbial strength of the honey,” says Raphael Brunner.
Managing director of Singapore-based online retailer The Honey Colony, Raphael began importing premium Australian honey into Singapore in 2018, leveraging the relationships he has built with independent apiaries around Western Australia and Tasmania.
“We’re quite picky about who we choose to work with,” says the affable 32-year-old Swiss, who first moved to Singapore in 1997. “We look for apiaries that don’t process, heat, homogenise, tamper with or, worst of all, mix fructose syrup into the honey. It’s absolutely an ethical responsibility, and we test each product extensively to ensure they’re of the highest quality.”
In the day-to-day, he handles other aspects of the business as well, from accounting to the delivery. “I’m kind of a one-man show,” he laughs before adding: “Still, my family has been incredibly supportive. They help me every day. Our work together has made The Honey Colony what it is today.”
Fittingly, the family-owned ethos is represented in the retailer’s catalogue as well. Among the five brands The Honey Colony stocks are Elixir, Honey in the Garden and, more recently, the Scottish Bee Company, all founded by husband-wife duos.
The crème de la crème of honeys, these are raw, pesticide-free, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and supercharged to both safeguard the body from the cell-damaging effects of free radicals and speed up wound closure. Tasmanian Wilderness’ Leatherwood – made from ancient leatherwood trees that take 80 years to flower – is one of the world’s rarest honeys, while Elixir’s Jarrah TA40+ has up to three times more antioxidants than Manuka honey, and Scottish Heather honey boasts up to 10 times more manganese than other honey variants, according to a study by Fera Science.
This year, The Honey Colony has added Honey For Life, formerly known as Davies Apiaries, to its catalogue. Though it isn’t family-run, “the way they run the business is like a close-knit family,” Raphael explains. “They still do most things the old-school way, extracting honey and labelling their products by hand.”
Currently exclusive to The Honey Colony in Singapore, Honey For Life has about 1,000 hives, specialising in Red Gum, Jarrah and Karri honey. All are harvested with the time-intensive cold-extraction method, which ensures the combs aren’t damaged and preserves the nutrients of the honey.
“What’s also interesting is that they all come from the eucalypt family, but they have very different flavours,” Raphael shares. Karri carries distinct notes of butterscotch, while Red Gum has a caramel-like texture, and Jarrah carries a nutty, malty flavour.
Providing a platform for this kind of quality product is what The Honey Colony is all about. Raphael says, “My goal is to bring the best quality of honey into Singapore and the global market at a reasonable price, and in doing so, educate people about this superfood.”