Why this business on the cusp of becoming a global sensation
HONEY produced among 1000-year-old melaleuca "mother trees" in the Bungawalbin Valley is on the cusp of becoming a global sensation.
The stunning property, south of Coraki on the Richmond River, has been a tea tree plantation for years.
Research has proven the area to be the birthplace of the Melaleuca Alternifolia species of tea tree ‒ they've grown here for more than 35,000 years.
The owners of the original business, Jenbrook, hand-harvested among the natural growth and organic farmed plantation to create premium quality oils at a small facility in Alstonville.
In 2017 Jenbrook was bought by Eve Investments and the business quickly started shifting.
Now, just three short years later, its subsidiary brand Meluka Australia is being noticed in markets across the world.
Meluka's chief executive, Ben Rohr, said it was the property's story and history that made the products special.
"The original founders had a number of ideas that we wanted to explore," he said.
"We (originally) set up a joint venture with them and optioned the rights to buy the business and the farm.
"We wanted to go into food, and honey appealed to us.
"We set up some hives and really started building up a brand.
"Our honey is organic, which is a challenge in other parts of the world ‒ bees can obviously fly a long way and you can't control them.
"That's why we are so lucky to have our property at Bungawalbin."
Meluka is already making waves in China and the US.
The first batch of Meluka's raw honey products sold out in China within weeks.
A second order pre-sold before it even arrived in the country; a third order was quickly placed for a whole sea container with more than 21,000 units.
China is also bringing in small commercial batches of the tea tree honey.
And in America, Meluka is selling products through Amazon
Mr Rohr said Meluka's success had been beyond their expectations.
"It has been phenomenally quick, but we are still in the early growth phase," he said.
"We'd love to be in every market in the world.
"But next we're looking at Canada, Singapore, Japan and the UK."
There are also plans to develop more products through Meluka, including a cannabis honey in partnership with THC Global.
Red tape is causing some delays with that project, Mr Rohr admitted.
"It has been a little frustrating ... THC is still waiting to secure approval to grow cannabis at the location," he said.
"But it's very much still on our radar."