Honey is finally here!

Hi Everyone!

Great news, we have finally harvested, extracted, and bottled the honey that the bees have been making over the past five months. It’s been a long process; the bees begin to forage again once flowers have started blooming, and the temperature has started to rise. This normally happens around mid March.

After they become active, they get checked on about once a week, to make sure all is in working order, and there’s nothing wrong with the hive (parasites, not enough food, not enough room). This year we had problems with hive space, our eight hives were expanding quickly and swarming often. Swarming occurs when there is not enough room for all the bees in the hive, so half leave with the old queen to try and find a new home. These bees are docile, having gorged on honey before taking flight, and can easily be recaptured and put back into a new hive. With the bee population exploding we knew that we’d have a lot of honey this year.

Over the course of two days, we managed to extract all the honey that was made over the spring. We filled around nine 5-gallon buckets. We have yet to bottle and label all of it, but that will be done soon. Right now, we have around three boxes of honey, with more to come. Our prices are staying the same at $10 a pound, and $6 for a half pound. If you want to buy some you can contact me at oliver@essexgirlhoney.com , or my home phone 973-744-0701.

Oliver

We’re all out of honey!

 

Hey everyone!

 

Unfortunately, we are all out of honey. It’s been a great season, and the bees are working hard to produce more. In fact, all seven hives survived the winter. Bees commonly die in the winter for a multitude of reasons. When winter begins all the bees cluster up at the bottom of the hive, and slowly work their way to the top eating their stored honey as they go. If the hive is weak going into the winter, the bees will not have enough honey and starve to death. Even if the bees do have enough honey, they can still move up the hive too quickly, or break their cluster too early. We have never had this many hives after winter, and we are optimistic that we will have lots of honey, early in the year. Hopefully around Father’s Day.

 

Honey makes a great gift!

Tis’ the season!

Our honey makes a perfect holiday gift!

It’s straight from our backyard, and it tastes great. It costs $10 for a pound, and $6 for a half pound.

This time of year, I often get questions on what our bees do during the winter. The bees cannot survive alone outside in the cold, so they cluster together inside the hive to generate heat. In this cluster, they slowly work their way from the bottom of the hive to the top, eating honey that they have stored along the way. However, during this process lots can go wrong. Sometimes the bees work their way up the hive too fast, and once they’re all the way up they do not go back down, other times the bees do not store enough honey and starve. It’s a hard life to be a bee!

Over the winter of 2015 we lost 2 hives, this year we’re hoping to lose none. New Jersey beekeepers will normally lose around 25% of their hives over the winter.

Right now we have plenty of honey, however orders quickly pile up, and we are normally out by mid-February. You can email me at oliver@essexgirlhoney.com, or call 973-744-0701.

 

Oliver.

 

2016 Summer Honey!

Hi Everyone!

We have just extracted honey from our five hives (2 near Edgemont, 2 near Porter park, and 1 near Bloomfield). We spent all day on July 10th bringing in the honey, uncapping, and extracting. We gravity filter our honey at room temperature to keep the great smell and taste of all natural raw honey.

We should have honey bottled and ready for you by Sunday July 17th. It is $10 for a pound, and $6 for a half pound. Email me at oliver@essexgirlhoney.com or call and place an order (973-744-0701).

Thanks,

Oliver

Welcome Spring

Today is the first day of Spring everyone!

It was a rough winter for our bees: we lost three hives, but we still two thriving hives.

We’ll be buying more bees soon, so we can be prepared for the upcoming honey season. We still have honey from last year left over, but not much! If you want to purchase some contact me at oliver@essexgirlhoney.com or leave a message on our phone (973-744-0701)

-Oliver

Old News

We’ve neglected updating the site for a while (okay, for over a year), but the bees have been busy, nonetheless.

Way back in February 2015, we attended the New Jersey Honey Show where our honey in the comb won a blue ribbon plus “best of division” for combs and spreads. We’ll be doing this kind of honey again in 2016.

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Oliver with the award-winning honey and rosette

We also won second place in the novelty wax category–with a block of wax in the shape of Han Solo in carbonite. Unfortunately, no photos exist.

Honey in the Comb

Recently, we were able to produce honey in the comb using a system called Ross Rounds. This is a tricky, time-consuming process. We have to coax the bees to draw out new wax and fill it with honey very quickly right in the packaging–our timing must be perfect or it doesn’t work.

While this type of comb honey used to be very popular, not that many beekeepers in NJ bother with it. In fact, we’re not aware of anywhere else locally where you can buy Ross Rounds.

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The bees fill our Ross Rounds with light, spring honey contained in thin, edible wax that you can scoop out and eat on toast, in yogurt, or on a spoon. This is honey in a “native” state–just as the bees made it, completely raw and unprocessed.

A limited number of 8 oz Rounds are available at $8. We’ll happily give you a $1 credit on your next purchase when you return the empty packaging.

Email Oliver to order or for more info.

 

Spring means seasonal allergies

Believe it or not, Spring is here. Already our bees are bringing in bright yellow pollen along with darker yellow and light brown. Hard to know where it’s coming from, but in NJ the first blooming plants are skunk cabbage and spice bush followed closely by maple, hazel, and elms. The NJ beekeepers association has a handy pollen calendar here.

Many of our customers are looking for local, raw honey to help prevent seasonal allergies. According to healthline, medical studies are inconclusive, but if it works for you or your family, then it’s a pretty tasty remedy (though honey should never be given to infants or toddlers under the age of one).

Here’s hoping the snow ends and we can all enjoy a proper Spring–free of allergies!

Our Award-Winning Honey

We just got back from the 2014 NJ State Honey Show where the honey we extracted on June 9th from our Edgemont hives won 1st place in the “black box” category! At these types of shows, judges consider a wide range of criteria for most honey categories–some of which are only about packaging or ability to fill multiple bottles to the same level. The black box category is only about taste, aroma, and texture–what really matters to most people.

Given all the great beekeeping going on, I don’t know if we can say we have the best-tasting honey in New Jersey, but we know we have blue ribbon flavor!

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2013 Fall Honey

For the first time, our bees brought in a dark fall honey. In the Montclair area, this will be almost all from Japanese Knotweed otherwise known as Japanese Bamboo. This invasive weed is fast growing and hard to remove. It tends to thrive around streams, highways, and railways. While it’s not great for gardeners–or native plants–it’s a big nectar producer and the bees love it.

Our new apiary near Porter Park must be close to a good source of Japanese Knotweed, because the bees went crazy for it this fall and made almost 60 pounds of this special honey. The honey is a beautiful dark amber with a slight buckwheat smell and taste–all characteristics of this varietal honey. It has a distinctive taste, and people say that dark honey has more antioxidants than light honey, so is even better for you.

The other thing to know about this honey is it crystallizes very easily. This is a natural process in all honey, and lets you know that it’s honey and not corn syrup or something else. If you want the honey to pour, then it’s simple to remove the crystals. We recommend that you heat a pan of water up to about 130 degrees, turn off the heat, loosen the lid of the jar, and put the bottle into the water–taking care not to splash water into the honey or immerse above the jar top. Let it sit as the water cools. You may need to do this a couple of times. (You can do this more quickly by heating the water above 130 degrees, but you may lose some aroma and taste.)

We’ve just got this into bottles, so if you’d like to try some of this honey, just let Oliver know when you email or talk to him.