Monday, March 31, 2014

2013 Honey

Some of the 2013 Harvest...

We have bottled most of the 2013 Honey Harvest and are making deliveries to our customers who have reserved honey orders!
A bountiful harvest this fall season will enable us to offer our Wildflower Honey to new customers on a limited basis.

We took a quick picture of a few jars of this years harvest sitting on top of one the hives.
Toms Honey Bees: Long Island Wildflower Honey 

Honey Harvest Fall 2013

Our 2013 Long Island Wildflower Honey harvest is in for the fall!

We are very pleased with our fall 2013 honey harvest, which we finished extracting the beginning of September. The honey is a beautiful clear and clean amber color with a wonderful wildflower bouquet. Everyone loves it and feels it might be our best yet.
No heating, no filtering. As always we extract, strain, let the honey settle and bottle. Always amazes us at how clear a good honey can be without heavy processing.
We are currently in the process of bottling the last of this years harvest and hope to have a limited supply left for holiday sales season.

Breeder Queens

We've chosen the most desirable hives from 2013

Three colonies that we will use to produce queens from for the 2014 season. They exhibit all of the traits we find desirable in our honey bees. Come Springtime they will be managed to supply us with locally mated Long Island Honey Bee queens.

Late Fall Bee yard Check Nov. 10, 2013

Bee yard in November

Visited the #BWD bee yard today. Nov. 10th, temperature 55 degrees, sunny, light breeze.
As you can see they thought it was a good flying day. Just look at them all out and about.
It's supposed to get colder the next couple of days so they will cluster inside the hive until the next warmish day of 50 degrees or so.

New bees

We have decided to add an additional gene pool to our apiary this coming spring... 

Our choice for this addition is the Danish Buckfast line of bees.
We are excited to begin working with this bee and look forward to the benefits we think it will contribute to our apiary.
The Buckfast bee strain originated at Buckfast Abbey in England being developed by Brother Adam.
Our new Danish Buckfast queens are daughters of those Buckfast bees via Denmark and now bred in the US.
Some of their characteristics that we are interest in are:

  • hardiness in a variety of climates
  • excellent housekeepers
  • low swarming
  • excellent foragers
  • gentleness
  • ease of handling
  • superior resistance to disease
  • overwintering 

We will establish these Buckfast queens in only one of our outyards to start off with and see if they meet with our approval and live up to our expectations. Wish us luck and we'll keep you updated.

Long Island Agriculture

Statistics on Long Island, NY Agriculture

The most recent stats for Agriculture on Long Island. From the NY State Comptrollers Office.

=Ag production on LI totals $258.7 million.
=Tops in NY in nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, sod. 
=Suffolk County agricultural sales highest of all counties in the state totaling $242.9 million.
=Suffolk County is the State's largest pumpkin producer.
=Long Island’s other top commodity groups are 

vegetables, melons and potatoes (which includes 
pumpkins); fruits, tree nuts and berries; and 
poultry and eggs
=Long Island is also the State’s 
largest producer of aquaculture (i.e., the farming 
of aquatic organisms such as fish, clams, shrimp, 
lobsters and aquatic plants). 
=Long Island’s vineyards cover more than 3,000 acres, 
and its wineries produce about 1.2 million gallons 
of wine per year.
=Suffolk County Farmland Program has 
preserved more than 10,000 acres of farmland 
through the purchase of development rights since 
it began in 1974.
=Long Island’s farms are efficient and 
produce a mix of high-value crops, as the average 
sales per acre was $7,249 in 2007, which was more 
than ten times the statewide average ($616)

Read the full report here. (click here)

Most Store-Bought Honey Isn't Honey At All

Buyer Beware as Not All Honey is Honey.....

Rodale Press Article

If you want real honey, look for local sources and buy directly from the beekeeper. By knowing where your food comes from, you can ask about how the bees are treated and how the honey is processed. Sure, raw honey might not be crystal clear like the little honey bear bottles you see in the store, but it's swimming in health-promoting antioxidants and left in its natural form, which is definitely a good thing when it comes to honey.

Full Report :Food Safety News

Winter care January 2014

Tough winter but all is well...

A 'far north' type winter has had us in it's grip and we took advantage of a nice January day to put some supplemental feed on the bees. The feed is sugar, a little water to make it clump and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Emergency feeding in an abnormally cold, wet (snow!) and windy winter season just in case we underestimated the winter stores in the hive late last fall. Jan. 12, 2014

NYS Pure Honey Bill

Please support the effort to pass a Standard of Identity for Honey in New York State.

Support NY Bills S3321 & A5154 and tell your legislators you want Pure Honey sold in New York State.
Help us protect the healthful image of honey in NY and to assure consumers that when the label says "Pure Honey" it contains real honey that is not adulterated.
Please sign the petition by clicking the link below, filling in the required information and submitting the petition.
Thank you for supporting this noble cause.


Honey Shares February 2014

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Honey Shares.
We have had many suggestions and encouraging comments regarding  a Honey CSA at Tom's Honey Bees as a way for us to produce more local honey and expand our business in the community. 

Our vision is to offer a Honey Share Program whereby one can purchase a "share" of honey for the current honey season that makes our honey available to share holders before the general public. A guarantee that honey will be available for your table.

 It seems that our regular honey customers are tired of wondering if we have already sold out for the season and want to 'lock in' their honey supply.
Just as important is their willingness to help further the sustainable local business model we have created at Tom's Honey Bees. By supporting our Honey Share Program with the purchase of a 'share', our customers are voicing their preference for local businesses, local healthy food and the strengthening of our local communities.
(Privately, I think they want free pollination for their vegetables and flowers, berry bushes and fruit trees!)

Honey shares will be priced as Full Shares and Half Shares. 

Thank you for all of your support!