Tuesday, September 29, 2009

honey CSA

I think this may finally happen!

Last year, I read somewhere about a honey CSA. Since honey's one of my favorite things and since we had poor pollination last year, this seemed like a super idea. I've been looking around for a bee keeper and finally came across a woman who maintains beehives and is interested in running a CSA. I am SO excited!

The idea is to set up probably 2-5 hives in a location near the community gardens in Belmont. The beekeeper will decide how many shares to divide the honey into and cost per share. Benefits will be very local organic honey, garden pollination, and an educational component. Interested CSA members can watch, learn, and potentially participate.

I was talking with the beekeeper about where to locate the hives. Bees like warm sunlight, southern or eastern exposure. They should be at least 20 feet from a walking path. We have several possible locations picked out and will make calls to get final approval.

One potential problem is beehives are high risk now with colony collapse disorder. While vegetable CSAs always have something to distribute even in a bad year, a honey CSA has the potential of coming up completely dry. (Kind of like a tomato CSA would have done this year.) But the rewards could be very sweet.


Victoria B. said...

What a great idea--Bees and a bee-share in your Community garden. I hope it will go over well. I even know someone who might have some hives to give away. I could check if you or your bee-keeper is interested.

kathy said...

thanks. I'll check.

Daphne Gould said...

That's fabulous. Even if there weren't a CSA, having hives near the community garden would be great.

Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Thats a really great idea! I am going to see if there is something like that near me! Ive recently stumbled on your blog and im loving it!

Anonymous said...

That sounds such a smart idea. Yes, bring in the bees.

By the way, I'm sorry and a bit surprised to hear you had pollination issues. From some photos, it looks like Skippy has some wild/uncultivated areas to romp in nearby, the sort of undisturbed ground that might harbor a pool of native bees.
You might want to think about helping the native bees along with the honeybees. For one thing, bumblebees are better pollinators for nightshades, if anyone dares to grow tomatoes next year.

Dan said...

That would be pretty cool and a new subject to blog about, maybe with a zoom lens,hehe.

kathy said...

Ha ha Dan. Or telephoto with remote trigger.

Karen Anne said...

I thought colony collapse disorder tended to get hives that were trucked around to commercial farms, because of the stress on the bees of all that traveling?

kathy said...

Bee colony collapse is not limited to trucked commercial honey bees. Its affecting all bees. Stationary hives, and wild bees. Apparently its been spread from commercial bees to wild bees. (PloS One Article, July 2008)

Here's a recent quote form an entomologist (Marla Spivak): "All bees — honeybees and native bees — are ... in decline, and it is a serious issue... Over 30 percent of our honeybee colonies die every year from colony collapse disorder or other causes. Some native bumblebee species have become nearly impossible to find, and we don’t know how many other native bees are threatened."

Here's great series of articles: New York Time Bee Decline Sept 2, 2009 one many aspects of CCD, which is apparently caused by a combination of many factors.