This past week it was time to harvest the honey. Harvesting requires a lot of coordination and hard work. This past week, the Bee Seva team and other Sevites, (13 in total) obtained the honey from our 3 active hives. We only take what is needed. The remaining is left for our bees.
The two oldest hives, Indrakshi and Jaganmata, saw large population increases which contributed greatly to the honey harvest. The Sophomore hive, Lalita also saw growth, where members of the beekeeping team were able to extract a few frames of honey without wearing much protective equipment. Finally, in May, the bee team welcomed their newest hive, Brahmari into the Maha orchard where the bees continue to become familiarized with their new surroundings.
Harvesting involves several steps. First is to remove the honey frames from the hive. Our two Beekeepers (Bill and Dan) have the task to remove the frames from the hives; to a location far away from the bees. In this case the location was the dining hall.
In the dining hall the process begins, removing the “cappings” (thin bees wax covering the honey). A hot knife and fork are used to scrap and uncap. The “cappings” are kept and cleaned to be used in other products such as candles, lip balm, and beeswax paper.
With the “cappings” removed the honey can be extracted. At GreenFriends Farm we use a hand-cranked (manual) Extractor. The honey frames (maximum of two) are placed in the Extractor, and the handle is cranked. With the extractor we spin for five (5) minutes on one direction, and then reverse and spin an additional five (5) minutes. This will spin the drum, and the honey will be swept onto the side of the drum. From there the honey will drip to the bottom where it collects. A spigot is opened and the honey passes through several strainers and poured into a large container. The container is left overnight to rest, before pouring into jars.
At GreenFriends Farm we have many fruit trees and wild flowers, giving the honey a sweet flavor. And you will be tasting the fruit and flowers in the honey. Please enjoy the honey, it will be available for purchase shortly.
Thanks to all volunteers who helped make this a wonderful harvest.