2019 Honey Harvest
Laughing Duck Gardens in Washington, Virginia.
[by Keith Rowand]
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2019 is shaping up to be a very intense year for honey. Winter ended mild with no late frost; temperatures and rainfall for the spring have been above normal resulting – the flowers made nectar and the bees made honey! It’s the first week of June and I have 500 pounds of honey in the barn with more in the field.
The bad news is that with so much blooming so well and for extended periods (with the humble white clover in abundance), there is alot of overlap between different flowers; I can’t differentiate what honey came from which flower, so no varietals this year. As always I’ll keep batches small – 9 frames from a single colony is the standard. One colony, Tiger Valley #5, provided 24 frames in one go. There will be 3 different batches from this colony all with the same harvest date but reflecting the 3 different honey supers from which the frames were harvested.
An exception to my single colony rule will be “dark comb honey.” The bees got off to a REALLY fast start with autumn olive, dandelion, and anything else blooming in late March/early April. They started so fast that they didn’t wait for me to put on new honey supers (clean, light wax not used before). The bees began storing honey in “brood comb” normally used to raise baby bees. Honey from brood, or “dark” comb will pick up the debris and bits of life from the business of raising bees. Along with this is unconsumed honey from the bee’s 2018 food stores . In a beeyard with 3 colonies, I move the best dark comb honey into one colony for ripening and capping. After I’ve processed the light honey from fresh comb, I’ll do dark comb extraction using an extra fine strainer. I have extracted one dark comb batch (batch #19-6), but cleanup of bee-life debris made me decide to save further dark comb extraction for last.
For more about frames and the harvest, please read about the 2017 Honey Harvest.
For these notes, color is taken from the Pfund color chart, a standard honey measurement. Grade A honey must have no more than 18.6% water content (above 20% fermentation can occur)
Moisture Content and total weight: 18.6%, 28.1 pounds.
Origin: Colony #7, Harris Hollow upper beeyard, taken 5/18.
Moisture Content and total weight: 18.0%, 27.7 pounds.
Origin: Jericho Rd, taken 5/20.
Moisture Content and total weight: 18.4%, 50.3 pounds.
Origin: Capping tank #1, batches 19-1 thru 19-9.
Moisture Content and total weight: 17.6%, 29.0 pounds.
Origin: Washington, Va, colonies # I1 & I5.
Moisture Content and total weight: 17.8 %, 28.0 pounds.
Origin: Washington VA, colonies I2, I3, I4
Color: Extra Light Amber
Moisture Content and total weight: 18.4%, 26.9 pounds.
Origin: Selected dark comb frames in mid May.
Color: Light Amber
Moisture Content and total weight: 17.6%, 36.7 pounds.
Origin: Harris Hollow lower beeyard, colony #12 taken 5/31
Color: Exrta Light Amber
Moisture Content and total weight: 18.0 %, 29.0 pounds.
Origin: Tiger Valley colony TV2 honey super on 5/25
Moisture Content and total weight: 18.0 %, 31.4 pounds.
Origin: Tiger Valley colony TV1 on 5/25
Moisture Content and total weight: %, pounds.
(This post will be updated as more batches make it to market.)