When we first moved to Patina Meadow, we knew we didn’t want to just be passive observers of the ecosystem that existed on our land. We wanted to become active participants in it, creating a symbiotic relationship with the plants, animals, and insects that called our property home before we even knew it existed.
One of the ways we engage with the natural world around us is through our bee hives, with the help of Claire and Steven at Greenwood Honey Company. Nestled near the front of our property, stands seven hives, modeled after our log cabin, buzzing with life.
We originally had five hives, but we were able to “catch” 2 additional swarms on our property, who have now been moved to their permanent home in our little village.
After allowing our hives to get settled in their new spot at the forefront of our land, it’s time to harvest our second batch of Patina Meadow Honey.
Honey is a fascinating food. It is the only food that has every single substance to sustain life, it is rich in antioxidants, and it never goes bad!
When raised in man made hives, bees usually produce more honey than they can use, so we are able to carefully harvest this abundant liquid gold to share with you.
THE HARVESTING PROCESS
Harvesting honey is an art that requires patience, skill, and utmost care for the bees. At Patina Meadow, Steven, Claire, Leila and I approach this process with the utmost respect for these essential pollinators and their hard work.
TIMING AND PREPARATION
Timing is key to a successful honey harvest. Steven and Claire carefully monitor the hives throughout the year, observing the bees' behavior and tracking the nectar flow. When the hives are full of capped honeycombs, indicating that the honey is ready, we know it's time to proceed. Before opening the hives, Claire and Steven use a smoker to gently calm the bees.
The smoke imitates a natural response, making the bees believe that there might be a fire nearby. Consequently, they gorge themselves on honey in preparation to potentially abandon their hive. As a result, the bees become less defensive, allowing the beekeepers to work more safely.
Each hive contains wooden frames filled with hexagonal honeycombs, a shape that allows them to most efficiently store the maximum amount of honey with the least amount of wax.
We carefully remove these frames from the hives. It is essential to handle the frames with care, as beeswax and honey are not only the bees' hard work but also a precious resource for the entire colony.
Once the frames are removed, Claire and Steven transport the frames back to their studio. Here, they remove the delicate layer of wax that caps the frame.
After removing the beeswax caps from all the cells, the honey can be extracted using a centrifuge extractor – a device that spins the frames to separate the honey from the combs.
The centrifugal force extracts the honey, leaving the combs intact for the bees to reuse.
STRAINING AND BOTTLING
After extraction, the honey is strained to remove any remaining wax or debris. The pure, golden liquid is then ready for bottling in our custom honey jars. Unlike most of the honey you will find at your local grocery store, our honey is left raw and unfiltered, preserving all its natural flavors and health benefits.
As part of our commitment to supporting the bees and promoting sustainable practices, we are thrilled to offer Patina Meadow's honey for sale. By choosing our honey, you not only savor its rich taste but also contribute to the conservation of these vital pollinators.
At Patina Meadow, we are proud custodians of these captivating creatures, and our beekeeping practices embody a deep respect for nature's interconnectedness. With seven hives, including those wild-caught on our farm, we celebrate the extraordinary lives of bees and their vital role in our ecosystem. As we continue to nurture our buzzing friends, we invite you to join us in cherishing the sweet nectar they produce – a testament to the harmony that exists within the world of bees at Patina Meadow.