Sweet Rewards of Our Honey Harvest

SSBC Beekeeper Danielle with hives (photo: R. Koning)

We’re buzzing with sweet joy as we welcome our first batch of honey from our bees on Standing Stone Farm! We’ve been tending to our beloved honeybees all summer long, and as we prepare to wrap them up warmly for the winter we delight in a sweet treat from our bustling hives in return.

Busy hive entrance

We started beekeeping on our farmland earlier this summer with four single-level beehives. These colorful boxes live in a sunny pasture in the middle on our farmland on Eagle Mill Rd. in Ashland,OR, surrounded by bushes of blackberries to supply plenty of pollen. As our hive populations expanded over the summer we added several more levels to our hives, giving our bee friends and their queens plenty of room to grow their families and make delicious honey.

In September, as the warm, sunny weather began winding down, our Standing Stone beekeepers took a course from Bee Girl of Ashland, OR all about winterizing beehives and harvesting honey. Here, they learned that honeybees need plenty of reserve honey to supply their diet during the cold winter months when they don’t leave their hives. They also do well in small, combined hives that contain their warmth and don’t let cold wind gusts inside.

SSBC Beekeeper Rachel preparing honey (photo: C. Meeks)

After the class, our beekeepers spent a day inspecting and consolidating the hives to prepare them for the cold winter months. They left the bees with enough honey to keep them full with food while pulling the extra honey that was leftover once the bees were settled in their new, cozy spaces.

Back at the restaurant, we harvested our honey using an old-fashioned “crush and strain” method, pushing the honey through a fine mesh strainer to separate the liquid and wax. Then, we warmed the honey to allow remaining wax particles to float to the top and be skimmed off. Once finished, we filled five liter jars with fresh, delicious honey to use in our restaurant. We’ll be sure to use it in dishes that let its natural sweetness shine through, so stay tuned to special’s board for honey delights coming soon.

Final product – fresh, raw honey! (photo: R. Koning)

To enjoy local honey at home visit your community’s farmers market or food co-op and stock up for winter. The sweet treat is a delicious traditional aid for soothing a chilly-weather cold or flu, and a yummy ingredient in cooking and baking or homemade mead. And if you’re interested in starting your own hives at home, be sure to visit the Bee Girl website for resources, tips and community classes in Southern Oregon.

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~ by R. Koning on 10/09/2012.

4 Responses to “Sweet Rewards of Our Honey Harvest”

  1. [...] & Honey Ale with Foraged Yellowfoot Mushrooms, Fig Butter, Mama Terra Goat Cheese, Honey from our bees, Sage and Sourdough [...]

  2. [...] on and pollinating the good stuff. We have four colorful bee boxes buzzing with honey-makers and we harvested our first batch (5 liters) of honey in October. We’ll debut our harvest in the first course of this year’s beer dinner, alongside [...]

  3. Everything is pretty in this blog, even the people!

    • You’re so kind, thank you! Your post on mite treatments are really helpful, too. We just winterized for our bees for our first season and we’re anxious to see if everything goes well!

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