Pollinator Week 2022

Join us on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 (rain date June 23rd) at 6pm at the Reservoir Park in Phoenixville for a fun pollinator week event! Combining all things Phoenixville, the event will feature a talk about pollinators while you enjoy a meal or snack, and we’ll even have an art activity to round out the Adult Summer Camp vibe.

Bring dinner or a snack – show off your cheese board skills or grab takeout from one of our fantastic local restaurants. Don’t forget the picnic blanket or folding chairs!

The art activity will involve making your artistic mark on a beehive box. We’ll have two freshly painted, plain white beehive boxes ready for you to paint, doodle or draw on, or even add a few lines of poetry to as a collaborative community art piece. We’ll have some art supplies available, but feel free to bring your favorite tools or mediums. The finished boxes will later be installed on the beehives at the community garden in the Reservoir Park.

Can’t wait to see you and celebrate the buzz about pollinators!

For more information about pollinators and other events, check out pollinator.org

Spring 2022

Long time, no blog!  Well, we’re already jumped forward to spring of 2022!  The bees are gearing up for summer, increasing their population size and they’re already starting to stack away some nectar which means they’re collecting more than they’re using to generate brood right now.  We’re just about on the same track as last year in terms of weather, so we should have our first batches of honey available at the end of May or early June.  The dandelions are popping up all over the place and the bees are enjoying some sunny days and warmer weather.

Just a short update to say hey, we’re still here, the bees are still buzzing and we should have honey within the month.  Hope to see you out at a market soon!!

Summer State of The Hives

It’s been a year, hasn’t it?!  I somehow simultaneously can’t believe it’s August already and yet also only August so far.  Whew!  The honey has been coming off the hives so fast this spring and early summer only to hit a dead stop for the last two or three weeks.  The weather and amount of rain we get will heavily influence the amount of honey the bees produce, so since the last two years were incredibly rainy, the nectar flowed all throughout the summer.  This year, there’s been less rain during July and August so far, so we’ve seen the usual late summer slow down.  Hopefully things will pick back up for a good early Fall run as we start to prepare for the winter with mite treatments and supplemental feed to make sure they have enough food stored for the winter.

On the up side, the first trickles of that cult favorite, the darker honey, are starting to come off the hives.  Clover is still kind of blooming in some spots where it’s shady, so there’s still a tiny bit of nectar coming in, but we haven’t hit the larger dark honey flow that I’m used to seeing this time of year.  Fingers crossed we get some rain to finish out a strong season!  We also added a honey guide (check it out in the menu up top) to go over all the batches we’ve extracted this year.  Each batch is between 30-60 lbs and only from one location.  Since we extract on a running weekly basis in ultra small batches instead of in larger runs maybe 2 or 3 times a year, the tiny changes as the bees collect from different floral sources are captured in different batches.

And in other news, we’re now PA Preferred!  This certifies that our bees never leave the state of Pennsylvania or even Chester County.  Some beekeepers send their bees out on a pollinator circuit to pollinate orange trees in Florida or cranberries in New Jersey, but our bees stay put on some truly beautiful properties in the Phoenixville area which makes the honey 100% collected and processed in Pennsylvania.  The PA Preferred logo lets you know that you’re supporting a local Pennsylvania producer or farmer, and we’re thrilled to be in the company of such great fellow farmers and producers.  Below is the “class photo” of our 2021 batches to date (minus batch A because it *evaporated* off the shelves).  Left to right, top row, are batches B through E, and left to right, bottom row, are batches F through I.  The bees have done a tremendous job this spring and I can’t believe how far ahead we are in comparison to last year with still a solid month or two left to go in the honey season!

 

Spring 2021 Honey

This season felt like it would never get here after such a long Winter and now all of a sudden, BOOM, smack in the middle of a pretty incredible Spring honey season!  Our first two batches are already off the hives, and number three is waiting for the extractor as I’m writing this.  They’re that beautiful pale yellow honey that’s probably mostly from black locust trees.  Our bees go wherever they please, so we don’t have a true varietal, but I can usually tell what the primary source is based on color and flavor and what was blooming a few weeks prior to pulling honey off the hives.  The black locust blossom this year was a full week of sunshine, so the bees worked tremendously hard with no breaks for rainy days.

Can’t wait to work our way through the honey spectrum as it slowly shifts darker and darker as the season goes on.  All the hives are happy and healthy and in fantastic moods (they tend to get a little feisty in July, but right now, they’re 50% sunshine and 50% rainbows and they’re an absolute joy to work with), and Spring has been rather kind to us, especially now that we had a good round of rain.  More to come – hope to see you out at a market or as we drop off your order locally!

Summer Market Dates

What a season it’s been!  We sold out of our own honey early in 2021 and have been carrying honey from a fellow local beekeeper friend so that we know we’re bringing you quality local honey from a reputable source.  The support this past year from new and returning customers and friends sharing word about the business has been truly overwhelming.  We’re grateful for each and every one of you, every second of bee-nerd chat at the stand, every comment and share on social media, and every purchase.

Our own honey production is slowly starting to swing into gear with the bees expanding the size of their colonies, flowers blooming, nectar sources waking up from a long winter sleep.  Hopefully we’ll have our first round in early to mid June!  It’s exciting, after such a long winter, to be here again, and we’re ready for it.  Summer season market dates are posted up on the markets page, but here they are as well.  Hope to see you out at a market soon to shop with so many amazing local producers!

  • May 1 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 8 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 12 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 13 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 29 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 9 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 10 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 12 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 26 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 7 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 8 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 10 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 24 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 31 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 4 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 7 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 12 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 28 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 1 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 4 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 16 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 25 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 29 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • October 2 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • October 14 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • October 23 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person

Winter Market Dates

Hey folks!  What a year it’s been.  Our bees are all tucked in for winter after a series of treatments to prep them for winter health and survival, and we’re already dreaming of all the colors of Spring pollen they’ll be finding in just a few short months.  We still have honey available for local delivery as well as pick-up and in-person shopping at local farmers markets.  Honey dippers, beeswax candles, hand-printed tea towels are only available in our local delivery radius for now.  We’ve updated all the upcoming market dates through March, and we’ll post them here too:

Upcoming Market Dates:

  • Dec 19 – Malvern, 1-3p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Dec 22 – Eagleview Pop-Up, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person (In the lot next to The Grove)
  • Jan 7 – Eagleview, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Jan 9 – Downingtown, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Jan 16 – Malvern, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Feb 13 – Downingtown, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Feb 18 – Eagleview, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Feb 20 – Malvern, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Mar 13 – Downingtown, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Mar 18 – Eagleview, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Mar 20 – Malvern, 10a-12p / / Pre-order & In-Person

Have a safe and warm winter, and don’t forget honey for your tea and hot toddies!

Final Fall Honey

Our final two batches of honey are available for purchase either online for local delivery in the 19460 or at a variety of local markets.

First up, Batch J!  Available in two sizes – a 12 oz jar and a 16 oz jar, measured by weight, both glass jars.  A very dark honey, probably mostly buckwheat honey with a blend of some clover, Japanese knotweed, and wildflowers. Not quite as dark as a true Buckwheat honey, but we like the lightness the wildflower content brings to keep this from being too intense. This is a dark red-amber color and has notes of coffee and molasses. If you love dark chocolate, red wine, and coffee, this is definitely the honey for you!

Very similar to Batch J, we have Batch K as our last batch of the year!  It’s every so slightly lighter and a little bit more reddish than J, but still has honey made from the nectar of the same basic flower group.  This one is only available in the smaller, 12 oz jars, but we kind of like the smaller size and it’ll probably be available in all the batches next year as well.

And that wraps up our VERY busy season!  We broke records this year in terms of production, thanks in part to the amount of rain we had this summer.  Despite all the extra challenges this year brought us, the bees have kept buzzing on just as usual, and it’s been a comfort to have their constancy as a sort of weekly refuge.  There’s just something about that happy buzzing that sets me in a good mood on every hive visit.  Now we finish up Winter prep and keep our fingers crossed that the hives are ready to go in the Spring!

Early Fall Honey

Due to a tremendous amount of rain this year, our honey season kicked back off for all of August after being fairly quiet in July.  This usually means that our local farmers have planted buckwheat as a cover crop for their fields and that beautiful stuff is finally blooming.  Buckwheat flowers produce boatloads of nectar, and you can imagine that a whole field of the stuff produces a tremendous amount of honey.  This was definitely true this season!  As a result, we now have the darkest honeys of the year coming in, including Batch I, seen above.  Early spring honeys tend to be intensely sweet while darker honeys (influenced by buckwheat) have a rich flavor that’s almost like molasses. So what gives dark honey its color? Much like grapes and wine, the color in honey comes from the same types of compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols also have antioxidant properties, so the darker the honey, typically the higher the antioxidant content. If you love bold red wines (Chianti or Merlot), dark chocolate, and espresso, you’ll love this honey!

Also available now is a special collaboration with Camphill Soltane in Glenmoore, PA, batch Soltane 2020.  We’ve been working all season alongside the staff to help get their hives set up and running.  Beekeeping has a pretty steep learning curve, and the bees are always doing something new and confusing which makes it a constant learning process.  Each hive can have its own unique quirks too, so they really keep you on your toes!  The honey was collected from the hives on their campus and processed this year at our facility.  Much like Batch I, this is a dark honey and their proximity to farms means it’s probably a good blend of buckwheat, Japanese knotweed, and clover.  Just slightly lighter than I, but tastes rather similar.  If you want to learn more about Camphill Soltane and how the hives will benefit their programs, check out their website: https://www.camphillsoltane.org/

And finally, our last new addition is a culmination of a full year of beekeeping, our 2020 honey sampler!  The sampler contains batches C, E, and G from 2020 each in 5.3 oz by weight jars, packaged in a hand-printed box.  This is something we’ve been working on all year and we’re SO excited to finally see it come together.  If you’ve ever wanted a small taste of each of the season’s honeys, this is a great way to try them all without committing to the full size, 1lb jar.  Makes a great treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one.  My idea for this is a great tasting board with the three honeys, different cheeses, meats, nuts, olives, cocktails or beer, and have a nice date-night-in sort of thing!  Maybe pair it with a good movie or pick out a few records to enjoy while connecting with your favorite human.

As for the bees, the hives are now into Winter prep mode, treating for varroa mites, making sure they stock up on that stinky but wonderful goldenrod nectar and pollen and supplementing with sugar water if need be.  All the hives seem to be doing well so far, the queens are laying eggs like mad to make sure they have enough “winter bees” (read: chunky, fatter bees to survive winter), and kicking out the male drones.  The males are a strain on hive resources, so the workers start evictions around now and by late October, there won’t be a single male in the hive.  The queen will start laying new drone eggs about in February or March (they result from an unfertilized egg), but until then, it’s just the ladies in the house!  This can be a somewhat nerve wracking part of the year as the beekeeper tries to gauge how much resources they need, keep an eye on the mite load and check for a wide variety of viruses that can impact the hive.  Winter survival can be such a tricky thing without all the other stresses that mites and viruses bring, and we always want to do our best to prepare them for winter.  Just like the bees, we’re ready to help you prepare for the winter by stocking up on honey too!  The web shop is open for local delivery (link in menu) and we’re working on getting some markets lined up for October and November.

Late Summer 2020 Honey

We’re slowly winding down our honey season, and every year, I’m a little sad to clean out the extractor one last time and start winter prep for the bees.  There may be another batch or two to go, but the photo above shows the last four honeys we bottled, batches F, FH, G, and H (left to right).  Batch FH is from the Flow Hive, and while we usually split this into a few batches, the frames were remarkably similar this year, so we just combined it into one large batch this time.

The bees have done a tremendous job this year in spite of the weird, slow Spring, dry June, and then the incredibly hot days we’ve had.  It’s a lot of work every year to process all that honey, but seeing those jars all lined up and the amazing array of different colors is what truly makes all the hard work worth it in the end!  We hope to see you out at the Pine Creek Hayloft on Friday, September 11th from 10a-5p, and hopefully in October as well (date TBD).  In the meantime, we hope you’re enjoying the last bit of Summer we have left!

2020 Honey is Here!


Our first round of 2020 honey is here and in jars, ready for sale!  Those four photos above are of the four different batches we extracted so far this year.  A batch is just a single fill of our small, hand-crank, two frame extractor with each fill clocking in around 4 gallons or about 45 lbs of honey.  Remarkably, each batch is about the same in terms of color despite the fact that we definitely waited longer to do the first extractor run so that we could process more in one single day instead of piecemeal here and there as frames come off the hives.  This was done mostly for safety reasons, to minimize exposure (even though we wore masks and gloves during the entirety of the extracting process), and to keep our workflow contained to one single day.  We did have a remarkable season for Black Locust, and given the near colorlessness of this honey, it’s probably primarily from Black Locust trees.  Black Locust honey is VERY sweet and has light floral notes.  As we go on in the season, through July, we see the color darken until we hit the Buckwheat nectar from our local farms which creates a nearly coffee black honey.  Why is honey such different colors?  It has a lot to do with flavonoids and phenolic acids, much like the color of grapes and wine.  The redder the wine, the higher the content of flavonoids and phenolic acids, and the antioxidant content is also higher.  The same goes for honey.  The darker the honey, the higher the antioxidant content.  We’ll hopefully be extracting and bottling the mid summer run of honey in the next two weeks or so.  Everything seems to be taking a little longer with the extra sanitizing and caution to prevent any chance of transmission of COVID-19.  We’re a VERY small business and our customers mean the world to us, so we want to keep you safe!


We also added a few new items to the website including two new candle sizes and a tea towel with our logo, screen printed by hand!  The logo was created during a printmaking class taken by the Queen Bee of our operation which eventually became our logo and we’ve really fallen in love with it.  It felt like a great gift item to have, so we’ve got a few of those tea towels in our inventory!  We’re still doing regular deliveries in the Phoenixville area on Fridays, and if you’re just outside the delivery area, email us and we can figure something out.

We hope your summer is going well, or as well as it can, in light of the circumstances!