Our Farm & Lavender Market is open June and July every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 - 5. You can find Lockwood Lavender Farm products in these retail locations. Like us on Facebook and receive up to date information on what's happening on the farm. I'm sorry we do not sell Plants.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Harvesting Honey

Owning honey bees and beekeeping can be an enjoyable and rewarding activity. Not only do we benefit of the pollination of our own gardens, we are also able to enjoy delicious honey.  You've heard of the expression “busy as a bee” well it's true. In fact, honey bees work so hard bringing nectar back to the hive to make honey that after about 35 days of life, they actually wear out their wings and their usefulness to the colony and die. The honey bees store the honey which can then be used as food during times when flowers aren’t blooming. If it is a good season with a lot of nectar producing flowers, the bees are able to collect a lot of nectar and they end up making much more honey than they could ever eat by themselves. This year we will harvest a good amount of honey for Christmas presents and to sell for profit.

Styling! I'm dressed for the occasion.

I've got my smoker, I'm ready to havest honey.  Richard Linck, our friend and beekeeper is on hand to take us step by step though the process.

Removing honey from the bee hive require the beekeeper to remove the bees from the frames of honey. A common method of removing honey from the bee hive used by many beekeeping operations employs a Smoker to calm and help drive the bees down into the hive. This is often matched with the use of a blower to blow the bees from the frames.

A leave blower is used to remove the bees.

This box contains a lot of honey.  You can see how full the frames are.

The bees work from the center out filling and capping each cone of the frame with honey.

All of these boxes will be extracted for honey.

These boxes are left for the bees with enough honey to last the winter.
Once the frames of honey were removed from the bee hives they were taken to Richard's honey house.

A look inside the box before we uncap the honey.

Gary is shown scraping and removing propolis from the sides of the frames.  Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources.

The next step is the removal of the beeswax capping's to expose the honey. The capping's may be removed by machinery, or they may be cut off by hand. Beekeepers often use a heated knife to remove the capping's.

Richard holds a frame of uncapped honey, ready to be placed in the honey extractor.

Centrifugal force pulls the honey from the open cells of the honeycomb. As the honey flows from the extractor, it is strained of flecks of beeswax and any foreign matter. Traces of pollen remain in the honey.

After the honey is removed from the extractor, the frames will be stored over winter to be returned to the hives in the spring.

Honey comes in lots of different colors and flavors. Different flowers have different scents. Therefore the nectar that is given off by the flower will smell and taste different as well. Soil chemistry is another thing that determines how honey tastes and looks. Honey that is made from the nectar of alfalfa which grows in drier, alkali soil, may vary from white to clear. On the other hand, honey that is made from the nectar of buckwheat which grows in more acidic soils tens to be very dark. Plus, the quality of the honey comb that the bees make is a factor in the color and taste of honey. The color of honey can also be golden, red, and even green hues.

Pouring our first jar!

This is our first jar of honey from the farm.  Oh so goooood!
We are looking forward to next years Lavender Honey.

Richard produces over 18,000 pounds of honey a year from different locations in the area.  He has been a great teacher and we can not thank him enough.  We hope to pay it forward in educating visitors to the farm about beekeeping.


Hidden Pond Farm said...

WOW it's been so fun catching up here at Lockwood Farm! You guys neverrrr stop AMAZING me!!!! WHAT next?!
LOVE you both soooo much <3 You're sweeterrrr than honey xoxoxo
...and THAT'S sweet!!!

Adriana Meiss said...

Karen, This is so interesting! My husband has explained the process of extracting honey to me (he was a beekeeper in his teens), but your photos made it clearer.

1922 Starkey House Bed & Breakfast said...

Your posting is the best I have seen yet. I am opening my 1922 Starkey House Bed & Breakfast soon and have been talking about the things I am passionate about in the Finger Lakes Region. Honey is certainly one of them. I have made a few amateur attempts at informing my reading audience and prospective guests about the benefits of honey and was looking for a more comprehensive site. I would like to include a visit to your farm in some package get away offers or simply to point guests in your direction. Thank you for your details about honey and lavender. Cathy

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