IF YOU take a walk through Ripple Farm, just outside of Albany, you spot beehives scattered all around – next to trees, under patios and amongst bushes.
The sweet smell of honey drifts on the air and it makes your mouth water.
All around, bees buzz in the search for nectar.
But the bees are not the only busy workers on the farm.
Husband-and-wife pair Kiri Lewis and Daniel Warne are the proud owners of Ripple Farm and share a passion for the land and self-reliant living.
Settling into life in the Great Southern, they found the region to be perfect for beekeeping and have been working beehives for almost 12 years.
But they realised the supply for beekeeping equipment in the region was very limited, so they started to bring equipment down from Perth.
“We found there was no one supplying any equipment… and the trip to Perth is a long way,” Mr Warne explained.
“So, we started bringing more and more gear down and it got to a point where we were able to import in directly and that meant we could offer the same prices as what Perth shops have.”
They quickly discovered there was a high demand for beekeeping equipment in the region and saw an opportunity to help the community, and Ripple Farm was born.
“We were at a crossroads,” Ms Lewis said.
“We were undecided if we wanted to go into commercial beekeeping, have a couple hundred hives and do honey, or if we wanted to sell the products [equipment].”
“In our situation, there was no one else selling the equipment in our region and it made sense for us to go down that path.”
Coming up on four years running the business, Kiri and Daniel have helped beginner beekeepers set up their hives, selling equipment to people over east and everywhere in between.
“We try to supply everything from the beginning to the end,” Ms Lewis said.
“We have a range that suits the hobbyists and backyard beekeepers and then we also have extended out to the commercial side as well – we have an intensive range of the higher range of equipment.”
To make sure their products work well, Mr Warne goes out to farms to look at plants and see what is happening seasonally, and this helps to keep a working relationship with customers.
They also keep their own hives on their farm which allows them to keep up with changing technologies and test new products.
“Having the beehives keeps us involved with what’s going on, test products and having hands-on experience is important to guide people on how they can get into it,” Ms Lewis said.
“If you can’t grasp what’s going on with the bees, you may as well be disconnected.”
Their ongoing goal is to sell beekeeping equipment and help their customers to establish their own beehives, to guide them on their beekeeping journey and support them with all their equipment needs.