our home shop is open Sunday, December 16, from 1-4 pm, for holiday shopping, but we’re otherwise officially closed for the 2018 season. many warm thanks to all the customers that helped support small scale beekeeping and agriculture and who went local this year.
We loved vending the Orchard Valley Waldorf School’s Benefit Holiday Market at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Nov. 17th. What an antidote to the commercialization of the holiday season. Local artists, crafters, makers and sweet folks of all ages with all kinds of drool-worthy creations inspired me with a sweet spirit to begin the holidays.
September 25th/The Everlasting Gobstopper Japanese Knotweed honey: Our home hives are normally used just for queen breeding endeavors but this late September something different happened. After being deprived of a really significant nectar flow this very dry summer, these hives very quickly plugged up with a super quickly gathered honey crop - over just two days of wildly hectic back and forth nectar flights to the peaking knotweeds bloom all up and down the riverbanks of the valley. To open up the hives a bit before winter came we took some of this honey as a small crop, and lo and behold, it’s totally nuts! It’s like a concord grape juice popsicle with a sip of an elderflower cordial, and, and….. a whole bunch of intense flavors not normally present in New England honeys. OK, Japanese Knotweed makes some incredibly good honey! This small crop sold out fast. We’re hopeful our home hives could make more of this honey in fall seasons to come.
Late September 2018: Mid-month we harvested honey crop #2 of the season. A light-colored Aster, Goldenrod and Joe Pye/Eupatorium honey, milder then last years fall crop but typically spicier and more complex then the earlier summer honey. Its crystallized with some crunchiness.
Bee Health/Glyphosate Study 2018: Another new study documenting that glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, causes meaningful harm to honey bees, has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It demonstrates that its by effectively diminishing or eliminating a particular healthy gut microbiome bacteria that helps bees fight infection, that their exposure to Roundup is resulting in a complex overall health decline. “In recent years, U.S. commercial beekeepers have seen almost a third of their hives fail during the winter, more than twice the historic rate. This discovery also raises obvious questions about whether glyphosate is affecting the microbiome of other animals, including people.” The behavior of the companies fighting these realities to sell their products is truly sickening us. We should not allow this to happen.
Bee Health August, 2018: Another recent study from England reflected that the EU's ban on the use of neonicotinoid class pesticides has not protected honeybees and wild pollinators as well as was hoped. The presence of these compounds in commercially available bug sprays and box store nursery plants that weren’t included in the ban are speculated to be the culprit. It was hoped that lowering the honey bees overall exposure to these chemicals would mean a diminishment in their negative impact on the bees health, but it appears it didn’t work this way, demonstrating that ANY exposure to this class of compounds results in negative impacts on their health. To read more about this study google the journal scienceblog.com and look for the article entitled ' EU pesticide ban failing to protect bees'.
August 2018: We're extracting 2018’s first honey crop now, much later then usual in the season due to our very dry summer weather pattern. It's a bright yellow-colored honey our friend Fearn called "gentle" and its quite different from the usual mid-summer Basswood honey that most often anchors our summers. This honey is comprised of a mix of Birdsfoot Trefoil, White Clover, Alfalfa and Star Thistle. The presence of the latter in this honey will help it not crystallize as quickly, or completely, as most raw honeys normally would.
July 24, 2018 Hive and Honey Update: Hot and dry weather has been tough on the bees, and a whole lot of plants and creatures for that matter, but bee-specifically, there wasn't much of an early summer nectar flow due to the scant rainfall amounts and extreme heat. When these less then happy hive conditions just hung on, the bees made due and worked extra hard to put up smaller then normal crops, with less intense flavors, then we experience in a more normal Vermont- summer- weather- pattern. You could also say the bees have been pretty cranky so far this summer. Climate change is so easy to see in a bee hives
Announcing some change at Bee Haven: We’re working on working smarter and simpler. From now on, our bulk buckets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis, from our farm, on Sunday afternoons, from 1-4 pm, only. We no longer maintain a mailing list for special customers to reserve buckets in advance. Our home shop will now be open each Sunday afternoon on this schedule through a July 1st through Thanksgiving season each year, whether bulk buckets will be available or not. We’ll maintain a nice stock of our raw honey in mason jars throughout the season, as well as a dreamy spectrum of natural products for your kitchen, bathroom, body and soul. Along with all the hive medicines, for which we can only thank the bees who continue to struggle through the challenges our human ignorance has given to them.