Owner's sweet profit from 5 tonne Gladstone region honey deal
CALLIOPE man Russell McDonald's honey-selling business is doing so well he is running out of honey to sell.
And that's saying a lot, for a man with 15,000 hives in three states in Australia, 4000 of those in the Gladstone region.
Recently, Mr McDonald shipped off five tonnes of home-grown honey to China.
But the profits aren't ending there for the McDonald family, with shipments going abroad to America, New Zealand, England, Italy and more.
It all started 18 months ago when Mr McDonald's daughter, Emily, now 13, used to wait down by Calliope River, selling honey in milk bottles to passers-by.
"Up until now, the business hasn't been able to pay me a wage," he said.
"But now, I have people turning up looking for me to get their hands on my honey!"
As sales picked up, Mr McDonald said he realised the need for more hives.
"People kept asking and I kept having to say I haven't got any.
"Since February I went from having just 85 hives to having 15,000.
"And I started selling in shops, too."
Mr McDonald regularly travels to keep an eye on each hive, not only in Queensland but also in New South Wales and Victoria.
"My kids are the driving force behind it. With the demand expanding they are the ones inspiring me to keep the business going," he said.
"They all get involved with the process and when I set up my stall they are there with me selling it.
"My kids are working on it every chance they get."
Depending on demand, and if the rise continues, Mr McDonald said he would invest in the business with a new shed and equipment.
He said the secret to good honey, was the colour.
"People say to me, at first, when they see my honey, 'why is it so dark?'
"But that's the problem with lighter, golder honey. The longer you leave it the darker it gets; the sweeter, the better."
If you missed him at the Multicultural Festival on Sunday, you can find Mr McDonald with his cart at the Mt Larcom farmer's market at the weekend at Mount Larcom school.