Fall Harvest: Big Sur Honey

As summer came to an end, we were greeted with cooler mornings and evenings, rainstorms and changing leaves on the native Sycamore trees. The blooming bachelor buttons, squash blossoms, wild bergamot, zinnias and late-blooming sunflowers, were amongst the favorites of our honeybees in the garden. For surrounding native plants on the mountain, I noticed them on the blooming native, Buckwheat.
Flying from flower to flower, their pollen pockets weighed them down as they made their flight paths for the day. A honeybee supposedly visits around 100 flowers per foraging flight. With 10 foraging flights per day, this equates to 1,000 flowers. Even more astonishing, the average honey bee will make only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime (6 weeks). These foragers are the oldest bees in the hive and it is during the last two weeks of their lives that they gather nectar, pollen, water, and propolis. 
We were eager to harvest honey from the two hives on the property for some time, but we wanted to make sure that the bees would have enough to survive through the winter (honeybees rely on the reserves of their stored honey as food when there is no nectar available). For new colonies, these hives did really well considering we just got them in April of this year. I wasn't expecting the bees to cap as much honey as they did in the amount of time we have had them, so my partner and I were both thrilled to say the least when we realized we could harvest a few pounds. We decided to pull 2 deep frames from each hive that were fully capped with a mix of Black Sage Honey and Wildflower Honey (probably Buckwheat), and 1 honey super from each hive. Six frames of honey went into the the honey extractor, spun for several minutes, and out dripped the prettiest golden hue of Big Sur Honey from the bottom of the drum. 
Before entering the extractor, frames of capped honey are uncapped using a hot metal knife. This helps with spinning the honey out of the comb. 
Frames go into the honey extractor and spin for several minutes. 
Honey! Liquid gold. 

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