1st Canberra Urban Honey Harvest
It has been hard to be patient through the cool spring and early summer, while we watched and worried if the bees were collecting enough nectar and pollen for their health and well being. It’s only when bees have an abundance of stores that we take honey from the hive for harvest. Mother nature has rewarded our patience and this week we harvested our first Canberra Urban Honey.
We only take honey from the hive when we are confident the bees are collecting and storing enough nectar and pollen stores to see them through winter. People in Canberra will know its been an incredibly dry summer with little rain – and that means fewer flowers. It seems obvious to say bees rely on flowers for their food source (pollen and nectar) but I think sometimes we have to say it out loud to reinforce these little creatures are reliant on their environment for survival.
The honey in the frames was a deep yellow and it was hard to contain our excitement as we pulled the frames from the hives.
It’s such a joy to see a hive of bees thriving and collecting enough pollen and nectar for ongoing survival, and have some spare to share with you and me.
We place these honey frames into a honey extractor and spin the honey out. The honey extractor used for this harvest was given to me, and Canberra Urban Honey by a dear family friend. I am deeply grateful that Peter, a commercial beekeeper in his 80′s gave it to me before he died. His parting words to me, in a thick Sicilian accent, were: “Always oil the handle Carmen, with a good Italian oil, not that cheap rubbish”. I cherish my hand driven honey extractor and the memories it evokes of Peter.
We place two frames of honey in the extractor at a time, turn the handle and watch to see what happens…
The first harvest of Canberra Urban Honey was a rich, dark orange and the smell was incredible. The aroma was the zest of orange!
It takes a couple of minutes to spin the honey frames by hand, we had ten frames to spin. So it was an hour or so later, we were able to start bottling the first of the long awaited first harvest.
It was incredibly exciting to bottle the honey and think of sharing it with the people who had put their faith in us and supported our crowd funded project through Pozible.
We had just enough honey to send to our Pozible supporters and fill an order for the one of Canberra’s five star hotels.
It has been hard at times to wait and watch while our urban bees struggled through the cool spring and dry summer. We continue to watch over them as we enter into autumn and hope they continue to have access to flowers over the coming months.
Thank you to the bees and flowers who have given us this precious honey. For those who have it, I hope you cherish it as much as we do xx
Carmen and the Honey Delight family