Husk & Honey (Food Tour of the Sunshine Coast)

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(A guest post today from my friend and tour partner, Ashley Jubinville, Kitchen Coach.)

Like the quiet little bees that go about their service of pollinating flowers so we can exist – without question or many thanks from us, this little café has been diligently going about “business as usual” in quiet little Nambour for over 4 years! The difference though is that their “business as usual” is really quite extraordinary and so refreshingly authentic.

If the reference was suiting enough already, the café’s name happens to be Husk & Honey AND my café-touring friend Josephine Moon has most recently released her wonderful foodie-fiction book called The Beekeeper’s Secret too (lovingly set on the Sunshine coast)!!! How fitting?! …you probably think I planned that one…. Haha

For those of you diligent foodies out there who are looking for a refreshing break from the stress of finding somewhere that you can eat without concern, the short drive out to the very funky Queen St. in Nambour is highly worth your while. There is not an ounce of gluten to be found anywhere in their kitchen, nor any other grains for that matter, and they make everything from scratch!!! – like everything! Even their tea blends, non-dairy milks, and hot chocolates! I LOVE YOU!

Next time you go, please pass on an extra bit of gratitude on my behalf to the lovely Johnny, Tashi, Sam, & Sarah for me – for their dedication to healthy, homemade goodness, authenticity, and happy service! And for anyone wanting a copy of any of your Josephine Moon books signed by the lovely Jo herself, you MAY just find her writing her next book in the cosy corner of Husk & Honey one day too!

Keep up the great work, smiles, and AWESOME food Husk & Honey – we need more like you to lead the way and help inspire people with what is possible. For all you Sunshine Coasters, lets ‘vote’ wisely with where we choose to spend our dollars – for the future of our food supply like the good bees we can bee!

The Bees Behind the Book

 

Autan

‘You could come and see my bees if you like. I’d be happy to show you around the hives.’

The beekeeper was standing at my local market stall, his pyramids of honey for sale around him. We’d been talking for about a minute and a half when he made his offer, one I think he actually regretted the moment it came out of his mouth. But all I could think was it’s a sign!

When I begin research on a book, I look for signs. Signs that I’m going the right way. Signs that the universe/muse/creative spirit (whatever you like to call it) is onboard with what I’m doing and will support the direction my work is going.

I’d previously been researching coffee for my third foodie fiction novel, but although I was really intellectually interested in the history of coffee, particularly, I knew I didn’t have enough fire in the belly to sustain it over the course of a couple of years to get a whole novel out. So I let it go and started looking for something else, and everywhere I went I saw bees. I started reading about them in books and online and watching loads of YouTube videos on bee handling. And then I met the beekeeper and he offered to take me to his hives, which was so random that I knew I was definitely on the right path.

I took the beekeeper’s number but later thought, hmm, as nice as that offer was, maybe I shouldn’t actually be heading out into the bush with a complete stranger!

But the universe wasn’t done with me yet. I continued my research and went to the Ginger Factory’s Super Bee Show here on the Sunshine Coast. Gayle Currie, head beekeeper, conducted the show and her knowledge and enthusiasm was addictive. We got talking over a number of weeks and then she too invited me to see her bees.

What I learned while researching and writing this book is that there is no ‘one’ way to handle and keep bees. Beekeepers all do things differently (much like horse people or dog people do, I suppose). And there’s a huge range of humane, ethical and holistic ways to do this (or not). Something I loved so much about Gayle was her very obvious and real love for her bees, her exceptional reverence and respect for them, and her very ‘feminine’ way of handling them. Those values and details carried through to Maria, my main character, who treats her bees as family.

Until I started researching bees, I didn’t even realise that we had an array of native bees in Australia. I always thought bees were great, but I had no idea just how outstanding they are and how much humans depend on them and how much we need to be urgently acting to save them right now. I do hope my book inspires others to love bees, just as I fell in love with them when researching.

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This post is currently featured as a guest post on ‘Love That Book’, a blog by Melissa Sargent.

Pic credit “Autan” from Flickr.

 

The Darkness in the Centre

Spotlight has just won the 2016 Academy Awards Best Picture. And I can’t help but feel grateful for the fellowship of the audience’s embrace of this film,  which covers the exposure of the cover up of abuses in the Catholic Church.

Which leads me to my newest novel… and I want to say this.

Sometimes, a good chocolate will have a dark, bitter centre, but be wrapped in enough sweetness to make the whole thing rich and enjoyable and have you going back for more. This is how I like to think of The Beekeeper’s Secret.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what the secret is. But I do want to talk a bit about the dark centre of the story. And I’m just going to say it straight: The Beekeeper’s Secret contains themes of child sex abuse in the Catholic church.

I’ve been nervous about sharing this because I didn’t want to potentially alienate my many wonderful and loyal readers of The Tea Chest and The Chocolate Promise. Because this book is a little different.

But here’s my promise to you–I have addressed the themes of abuse very carefully, with tremendous sensitivity to my reader’s. The book doesn’t hit the abuse down the centre. Instead, what interests me most are questions like,

How do these ripples of abuse and betrayal of trust resonate outwards through families, over generations (to the secondary and tertiary victims)?

What options did the ‘good’ people have at that time, when they were silenced and bullied into cover up at every turn?

What happens if a ‘good’ person, takes matters into her own hands? Are her actions valid? And how does she live with them?

These are questions that drove the plot for The Beekeeper’s Secret.

There are no graphic scenes of abuse in this book.

“…it seems strange that such an easy to read book could deal with such a serious issue but it does it well… the focus on family, friends and forgiveness makes this story very readable and an enjoyable depiction of life in modern Australia” (Sasha, on ‘The Beekeeper’s Secret’, Goodreads review)

At the heart of this story is a family that has been broken by secrets from the past and the efforts of Tansy to uncover the truth and heal the invisible wounds that have kept her mother and estranged aunt, Maria (and ex Catholic nun), apart.

This is a story of redemption, reunion, reconciliation and forgiveness.

And it’s a story of the wonder of bees.

 

 

 

Valley Bees Open Day

Some of you may now know that my third novel, due out April 2016, had a foodie fiction theme of honeybees.

(Everyone in the world needs to get passionate about bees right now!)

I’ll be heading to this event at Imbil on the Sunshine Coast, 12 September, to learn as much as I can about bees. I’ve also donated two copies of my books to their raffle. If you can make it, let me know, I’d love to meet you in person 🙂11850440_506272846203047_2254374535744187306_o

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