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Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 | 4 comments

Jill and Jeff’s Backyard Honey Harvest

Jill and Jeff’s Backyard Honey Harvest

New to beekeeping, Jill and Jeff installed hives and 20,000 bees in their backyard in the spring of 2014. You can imagine their thrill when they were able to harvest a combs-worth after only a couple of months.

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Jill wrote a guest post for us about their first bonus harvest, describing each step. At the end, she said that they were told to leave the bees “at peace” for the rest of the year until this summer. So, during the winter, they studied their beekeeping reference books, and watched the bees come and go from afar.

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When Jeff could see that the frames were more than 80% full of honey (he would lift the lid to check on them from time to time), he donned his trusty bee hood and pulled out two honey-comb laden frames from the hives.

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What’s most fascinating about this year’s harvest is seeing both the virgin honey (at left) and the brood honey (at right). The brood honey comes from the comb that housed baby bees at one point, whereas the virgin honey comes from a frame without the bee raising foundation.

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Excited to taste their harvest, they pressed the honey out of the combs and into glass tumblers, many many ounces worth – likely 2 quarts all told.

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Jill gave a spoonful of each kind to Justine and I so we could see for ourselves how profoundly different the brood honey tastes from the virgin honey. The virgin honey is smooth and bright in its sweetness, whereas the brood honey is much more earthy and even nutty. Both were amazingly delicious.

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This is how the brood honeycomb looks after extracting most of the honey; after a day or so, the honey is still seeping out.

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Jill has started funneling the honey into glass jars they ordered online.

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Each one etched with a hive and the words “8 ounces pure honey.”

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Jill and Jeff have so much honey, comb, and pollen that Jill is thinking of other projects to do like making candles.

4 Comments

  1. This is so interesting to see. Have been curious about this since reading some info from Friends of the Earth bee campaign last summer about the pollinator toxic pesticides. Then encountered a bee keeping hive on a friend’s farm in June, then read about some Oregon bee keepers in The Post this Sunday, and here is this fabulously inspiring activity of Jill and Jeff! So cool. Now I need to go read more and become educated about the bee keeping. Enjoyed the info and pictures. Thanks Jill and Jeff for sharing your story.

  2. So fun! Thank you so much, Leslie and Justine, for doing this follow-up story. We love our bees and we love that bee awareness is growing so much in our own community!

  3. I am so impressed and inspired! As a Chef, I appreciate all you are doing!
    Danielle

  4. I am so happy to see that you are doing this. We need more beekeepers in the city. The bees wax candles smell so nice and burn so slowly, that you must try making them. So many products from such a small insect. The whole process is inspiring, I must try doing this too.

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