In your box:
- Bok choy
- Head lettuce: “Nevada”
- Salad mix
- Honey (full shares only)
For as long as I’ve been paying attention, I’ve been amazed and fascinated by honeybees. I used to remember facts like how far they can fly and how warm they’re able to keep a hive in the winter, and now I just remember “really far” and “really hot.” But I love finding them throughout the farm, visiting cucumber flowers as I harvest them in August and exploring our young apple trees early in May. They are a dynamic energy on the farm; watching their interactions outside of the hive is more interesting than anything on a screen. It’s always humbling to witness the intelligence and communicative powers they possess.
I don’t know a thing about keeping bees, however. While bees are often a part of fruit and vegetable farms, knowing how to keep them happy and healthy is a skill set all its own that I’ve never had time to pick up.
Thankfully, we know Dave the Bee Guy. Dave Clinefelter has become a good friend of ours and is one of the most kind, generous people I’ve ever met. Dave had been looking for a place to keep a couple hives. We’ve wanted to have a couple of bee hives. So it was a natural fit. Dave is now keeping bees at Fox and Fawn Farm for the third year, and he seems to have some new information about bees every time I talk to him.
Once every week or two, Dave drives out to the farm from Excelsior to check on the health of the hives and monitor the queens’ activity. As soon as he drives up, our two-year-old, Nathan, shouts “Bees!” and runs over to watch as Dave inspects the hives.
The bees have had great years this summer and last, aided principally by wet years that have brought beautiful growths of clover and alfalfa that the little bees love. Dave has more honey than he knows how to give away, and he has generously given us a couple dozen small containers of honey. We don’t have enough to pass on to everyone, unfortunately. But we have just enough for all of our full shares, so look for a little jar of honey in your box this week. I wish he would sell it—I know many of you would be interested. But Dave is so generous that he gives it all away and won’t even take money to cover his input costs. Hopefully in a few more years he’ll run out of people to give it away to and start selling some honey.
Dave has harvested the honey for the year and left enough in the hive for the bees to overwinter. The hives haven’t successfully overwintered yet, but last year they made it to February despite some remarkably cold temperatures. So we’re optimistic that these are finally the bees to endure a Minnesota winter and keep our flowers well pollinated into next year.
Don’t forget: Our annual Fall Festival is next week, Saturday September 27th from 4pm until it gets really dark and we can’t tell if you’re still here or not. Please join us out at the farm for yard games, farm tours, and a celebration of the harvest. We will have a potluck at 5:30; please bring a dish to pass, table settings, and a chair. And don’t forget your creation for our Vegetable Sculpture event! Veggies used don’t have to be from the farm, of course. And be sure to have a name for your creation. Our address: 17250 County Road 122 / New Germany, MN 55367. We’re just 30 minutes from Excelsior and Chaska/Chanhassen, and 45 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Hope to see you here! Please e-mail or call with any questions: 952-353-1762.