Collombatti Naturals, From the Beginning
Chapter One - The story of Chai
On our 17th wedding anniversary we headed off to celebrate with a few days away in the beautiful coastal town of Byron Bay. It was here, in a little cafe overlooking the beach that we tried our first chai served with local raw honey. It was divine!
After returning home the search was on to find a similar chai, but after trying countless varieties we just couldn't find one that ticked all the boxes.
So, as you do, we decided to make our own. After lots of research and trying countless different blends, we finally came up with what we believe to be the perfect recipe. From this base we've developed several different varieties of chai to suit all tastes.
Chapter Two - The farm
In 2010 we packed up our life in suburbia and with our youngest son in tow we headed for the mid north coast in NSW, Australia. We bought a little 7 acre farm here in Collombatti (hence our company name) with the dream of living off the land and being as self-sufficient as we possibly could.
After Sue completed a diploma in Organic Farming, we used this knowledge to implement systems using permaculture principles for everything from our home, to the food we grow, the soil we nurture and to the animals we keep.
With Sue's love of all things fleece, we added a couple of alpacas. As in two. We now have nine alpacas but as past history shows this is likely to expand without warning. Sue's not-so-secret ambition is to have one of each of the 16 colours available here in Australia. It's always good to have a goal in mind, she says.
After reading about the plight of the honeybees worldwide, Rob and Sue undertook a beekeeping course and soon after bought their very first hive. This soon expanded into several hives with Rob using his woodworking skills to build the additional hives from recycled timbers.
We use natural beekeeping methods which focuses on bee health rather than maximum honey yields, and without the use of chemicals or any artificial feeding of the bees.
The beekeeping duties are now firmly Sue's sole responsibility after we discovered (the hard way!) that Rob is anaphylactic. After an emergency dash to A&E, he's now excused from any beekeeping duties!
Chapter Three: The Cottage Industry is Born
Definition of "Cottage Industry"
- an industry whose labour force consists of family units or individuals working at home with their own equipment
- a small and often informally organised industry
- a limited but enthusiastically pursued activity or subject
Already successfully selling our chai online and in local stores and markets, we wanted to expand our range to include products produced right here on our farm.
The obvious addition was bee products. Any excess honey we harvest is extracted without heat using a hand-turned press. The honey is then lightly filtered to preserve the vitamins and enzymes that naturally occur in this nutritious food.
Our honey is primarily saved for use in our Tea Hampers and, of course, our exceptionally popular Sweet'n'Sticky Honey Chai.
The precious beeswax that is left over after the honey has been extracted is gently rendered down, filtered and then used in our polishes and balms or sold as raw beeswax for craft projects.
Another area we are keenly pursuing are products using our Alpaca fleece. We hope to expand our range as more ideas come to mind!
The Environment & Our Ethics
We thoughtfully design each of our products with the goal of minimising the impact on the environment and are always seeking ways to improve on this.
All of our products are made with natural materials and are packaged in reusable, recyclable and/or compostable packaging.
We will never test our products on animals. Ever.