raw honey

‘Tis the season of sharing autumn bounty!

It is also the season of harvesting autumn honey.

Honey, that sweet liquid amber, is what the bees live off of over winter, so we have to be very careful not to pull too much honey from the hive or the bees will not survive. This week, our beekeeper will check the strength and stores of our hives, to assess how much honey our apian friends can share with us.

Each hive needs both a critical mass of bees and 60-70 lbs of honey to overwinter (for an “average” winter in our zone). Bees nourish themselves with both nectar and pollen. Nectar is used to produce honey, the key energy source for the bees. All through the year busy bees are producing honey, filling the hive in preparation for hard times, like winter. This summer’s drought has been hard on the bee community. Lack of water affects plants, which affects the creatures that depend on them, which includes us. Although our bee-critical native goldenrod was blooming well, the ground was too dry for the plants to produce much nectar, so honey production has been low the past few months.

When we pull honey, we have to leave enough for the bees first, then harvest whatever extra is there to share. Young hives, like ours, are especially vulnerable to winter stress, so forgive us if our farm honey supply is light this fall. Our bee friends have had some rough months, and we have to make sure they are taken care of.

We will always have local honey in the farm store. Our own honey remains a very small production. We share what we can.

1902 - Family purchased farm

1910 - Leased land to dairy farmer

1987 - Hamill Brothers inherit farm

2002 - Started as a family business

2003 - Started a beef herd, laying hens, and pigs

2004 - Added sheep and attained organic certification of pasture land

2005 - Added dairy herd and began making fresh cheeses like mozzarella

2006 - Built aging caves and began making aged cheeses

2012 - Grid Magazine’s Cheese of the Month (Nov – Full Nettle Jack); Finalist at the Good Food Awards (Toma)

2013 - Won 2 blue ribbons from the American Cheese Society(for Buttercup Brie and Lawrenceville Jack Reserve); Added second cheesemaker

2014 - Broke ground on additional aging space and began process of getting AWA certification for our chickens