bee haven is now officially closed until the 2019 season. many warm thanks to all the customers that helped support small scale beekeeping and agriculture by purchasing our local, raw honey and other garden, hive and woods-sourced natural products 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 beautiful 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 free of cynicism and full of the real spirit of the season. Great event, Orchard Valley!
Bee Health/Another 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 it’s by effectively diminishing, or eliminating, a particular healthy gut microbiome bacteria that helps bees fight infections overall, that their exposure to Roundup results 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.” What’s wrong with us?! Dr. Stephanie Seneff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and so many others, have already published scientific studies demonstrating the health effects of RoundUp on humans and the fact that it does something very similar to us. Here’s a partial list of human chronic health conditions it’s now recognized as playing a significant part in: Autism and Autism spectrum disorders, inflammatory bowel conditions, obesity, cancer, allergies, cardiovascular disease, depression, infertility, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis. Sickening. Truly.
Bee Health/Neonic Study/ 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'.
2018 Season Hive and Honey Update: Very hot and dry weather for most of the summer was tough on the bees and plants. There wasn't much of an early summer nectar flow due to the scant rainfall amounts and extreme heat and this continued most of the summer with the brief flow from the japanese knotweed bloom for our home hives being the only exception. This made for some atypical honey crops from the Bee Haven hives this season. The honeybee ladies of our hives made due and worked extra hard to put up smaller then normal crops, with less intense flavors then we expect in a more normal Vermont summer weather pattern. The bees were cranky and ‘making do’ for much of the summer. It was hard and sad to see knowing they’re already facing so much. Gratefully, at the end of the season we got a flush of intense rains that overflowed the rivers. It was hard for the very dry earth to accept it all, in its deep, dry condition. Thankfully, the trend continued for long enough that our water table levels were fed back towards safer levels again before our winter arrived early in November.
Here are our 2018 Season Crops:
#1: Late July/ A Mixed Wildflower Honey: Comprised of birdsfoot trefoil, alfalfa, star thistle and white clover/a mild, traditional flavored new england honey. This is a change from our usual Basswood high summercrop. The basswood bloom dried up within a few days this season, leaving the bees buzzing around the trees in frustration, for lack of the usual nectar offering. This is also our first Bee Haven crop the reflects the arrival of the “invasive” star thistle or knapweed plant to our honey making regions. An interesting detail of honey that contains star thistle nectar is that it tends to crystallize very slowly and stay a bit more gooey then the normal raw honey.
#2: Late Fall/ The Goldenrod, Aster and Eupatorium Honey: A light-colored, slightly cinnamon spicy honey with a strong pollen flavor. The nectar sources of this fall crop are the normal ones but the usual intensity of flavor is missing in this honey. Extreme weather conditions, like the drought and heat of this summer, resulted in the nectar of plants being less potent or juicy, for lack of a better turn of phrase. It made for a milder-flavored version of the usually spicy and tart fall honey bees make in our neck of the woods. It also crystallized in a crunchy, granular form that some candy fans really like.
Our #3 2018 Crop deserves it’s own little missive: The Everlasting Gobstopper - Japanese Knotweed honey of October: Our home hives are normally used just for queen breeding endeavors, but this late September something different happened. After being deprived of a significant nectar flow this very dry summer, our home hives very quickly plugged up with a super quickly gathered honey crop over just two days of hectic back and forth nectar flights to the peaking blooms of the japanese knotweed all up and down the riverbanks of the valley. To open up the hives a bit before winter came, we needed to take some of this honey out. When we tasted it, we went nuts! It’s like a concord grape juice popsicle with a bit of an elderflower cordial taste. OK, Japanese Knotweed makes some incredibly good, exotic tasting honey! This small crop sold out fast. We’re hopeful our home hives could make more of this honey in the fall seasons to come.
Spring 2017 Announcement/We’re not reserving buckets anymore: We’re working on working smarter. 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. Anyone can come get a bucket with no more reserving in advance. If you’re on our mailing list, please don’t worry. We’ll send you an email announcing each crop and let you know the first dates buckets will be available for pick up so you have a heads up. As usual, our home shop will regularly stock mason jars of our raw honey, as well as our other products, throughout the season, in other words, on any Sunday afternoon July 1st through Thanksgiving, even when bulk buckets aren’t available. Both the home page of this site, and this Dates and Events page, will always have the current info of what’s available posted in bold at the top of each page, so you can always check to see what we have at any given time. On the occasional Sunday when we’ll be away and our shop won’t be open, it’ll be posted there, as well, at least a week in advance, so you don’t have to make a wasted trip.