They've changed the name, but not the quality at Eltham Honey, says owner Sonia Bluett.

Formerly called Eltham Apiaries, the name change is to appeal to a new generation, she says. That same new generation is now also on board at the business.

Sonia and her husband Bryon now own the business along with their son Isaac.

"He is actually the third generation in my family to be part of the business."

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Sonia's parents, Trevor and Gay Rowe, began the business in April 1965.

Sonia's father, Trevor Rowe uncapping a frame of honey ready for extracting. Photo supplied.
Sonia's father, Trevor Rowe uncapping a frame of honey ready for extracting. Photo supplied.

Sonia says the company they started soon grew to employ five people, and have 2500 hives throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.

Sonia's father, Trevor Rowe uncapping a frame of honey ready for extracting. Photo supplied.
Sonia's father, Trevor Rowe uncapping a frame of honey ready for extracting. Photo supplied.

Sonia says throughout the years, Eltham Apiaries had gone through many changes.

"Trevor and Gay went from clover honey to propless collection. In 1988 they developed cut-comb production for Japan export."

In 1994 Sonia bought Eltham Apiaries with her husband, Bryon.

"I was proud to take over from my dad," Sonia says.

Bryon says it was the right time for the opportunity to take over the business.

"I already had been helping Trevor with the harvesting. I really enjoyed it. As a industrial electrician, I fix things so being able to produce something was very satisfying."

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Sonia, Bryon and Isaac now run the company with 800 hives.

While the numbers are fewer, Sonia says the range is more.

When Sonia and Bryon took over the Eltham Apiaries, they added mānuka honey. Later down the track they added bush-blend honey. Sonia says this diversified the business.

Sonia Bluett packing honey from a honey vat.
Sonia Bluett packing honey from a honey vat.

"We pursued excellence and to keep my father's reputation for integrity and high-quality products alive. Dad and Mum's reputation preceded us - it is amazing."

As well as producing honey, the business now also helps support schools.

"In the last five years we've started to support schools in fundraisers by supplying honey for kids to sell as an alternative to chocolate."

Isaac says he is looking forward to being part of the next generation involved in the business.

"I'm excited to see it move forward to the next generation. It's great to have an ownership role of the business."

Sonia says changing the name from Eltham Apiaries was to make sure everyone knew exactly what they produce.

They have also started a website as this, says Sonia, appeals to more people.

"This generation is more digital so leaving a digital footprint the business appeals to Isaac's generation."

Sonia says she believes her late-father would be proud of the business being owned by a third generation.

"I know he will be proud and my mother is really stoked. My daughter Fiona is also backing Isaac."

Isaac says the business will still be producing the same quality honey.

"Nothing has changed. It is the same service just with a different name. We're Eltham Apiaries trading as Eltham Honey."