Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week 11 Lavender Fields Farm Beekeeping with Nancy!

When visitors come to Lavender Fields Farm in Milton Delaware, I'm often asked, "How in the world did you ever get involved in farming lavender?"  (I'll save that story for another day!)   I think, whenever we meet people with interesting job or hobbies we can't help but wonder how it came to be.  
That was my first question to our Lavender Fields Farm beekeeper, Nancy Goggin.  How in the world did you ever get involved in beekeeping?    Previously a teacher of Environmental studies, Nancy and a class of 10th grade students  decided to do a project on beekeeping.  From that class project, Nancy entered into one of the most fascinating and beneficial  hobbies ever!      
Nancy maintains 11 hives, 6 of which are at Lavender Fields Farm.  At the Lavender Fields Farm, each hive contains 60,000 bees, remember, we have 6 hives, that's alot of bees!  A standard hive consists of 2 boxes, as the bees start to produce honey you add a "super" (a removable upper story of a beehive) to the top to capture the nectar flow.   Nancy tells me that the bees at Lavender Fields are living large!  Because the lavender grown in our fields is constantly in bloom we are able to supply a very long season of nectar flow.  First, the english lavender at Lavender Fields Farm blooms and fades, followed by the french lavender.  Nancy has taken 120 pounds of lavender honey already this season and today plans to take 30 pounds more.  No, the bees and honey are not purple and I'm not sure if the bees smell like lavender. (I'll have to admit I've not been close enough to get a good whiff!)
              Opening up the Super
           (notice the warning sign, ouch!)
Don't be fooled, I'm very far from the bee area! 
Looks good?!
Any tips or advice?  Nancy believes the best way to start your beekeeping journey is to hook up with your local Beekeeping Association.  Delaware Beekeepers Association Nancy was lucky enough to find a willing and helpful mentor and credits him with all of her sucess in this fascinating hobby.   Last but not least, my favorite bit of advice... When beekeeping do not wear black, why you may ask?  If you wear black the bees will think your a bear.  How funny is that? (I bet its pretty hard to out run an angry swarm of bees even for a bear!)
Thanks Nancy!
Week 12... Stay tuned! 

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