For the past couple years, Eden Hall has been home to multiple bee hives. Currently, we have two thriving hives, managed by Food Studies graduate students who work on the farm. With help from the farm manager Allen Matthews and local Bee Queen Christina Neumann, our students have learned the basics of beekeeping and honey harvesting.
This Fall, our graduate associates led a honey harvesting workshop for the Chatham community. Students who attended were taught some basic information about beekeeping, and also learned a little bit more about how these tiny insects create such a delicious product.
Then the honey harvesting began! Students took turns scraping the wax caps off of the honey-filled frames. The frames were then loaded in the honey extractor, four at a time. One student spun the extractor, while others held the machine in place. By centrifugal force, the honey fell off the frames and collected in a vat at the bottom of the extractor. From there, we bottled the honey, and got to taste the product of all the bees’ hard work this past year.
We also wanted to demonstrate some unique and different ways to use honey, so the group made two different types of mead (or honey wine). The meads are still fermenting away at the farm, and will be there for another couple months before we can taste them!
The bees are currently happy in their hives, with plenty of food and “bee candy” for the upcoming winter!
-Stephanie and Cassandra