By Sarah Meyer
Beekeepers have harvested their fall honey and hopefully had luck ordering bottles to fill with their local liquid ‘gold’. I’ve made efforts to ensure colony survival through winter by wrapping my hives with black tar paper, to provide an extra wind break and a bit of solar warmth; while also adding a shim under the telescoping cover to pitch snowmelt and rain to the back of each hive. I’ve slightly raised the rear side of each hive to ensure any moisture on the solid bottom board of a hive drains forward, out the lower hive entrance. A few weeks ago I placed about 3 pounds of sweet fondant on the top frames of each of my hives, which the bees will ideally come across to sustain them if emergency food reserves are needed for the last push through a potential cold snap in early spring. The bees have sealed their hive cracks and crevices with propolis for the winter and I continually shift my attention from the bees to their honey and how best to share the sacred sweetness.
Many beekeepers haven’t been on the holiday market or seasonal craft fair scene since the beginning of the pandemic. Honey demand soared in spring 2020 with honeystand sales and retail orders boosting health and immunity. As farmers markets, shops, and restaurants met mandates and customers grew cautious, many closed temporarily or slowly went out of business. Invitations to offer honey tastings and direct sales tapered off. Now, with shipping containers sailing at a slow pace, gas prices rising, and online delivery speed unpredictable, there is more cause than ever to consider buying local as we enter the gift-giving season! Shop small! Support your local beekeeper! And, help honey producers bounce back along with the small businesses that support them!
Small Business Saturday is perfectly timed for November 27, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a day before the start of Hanukkah, just over a week before Bodhi Day, and a month before Winter Solstice and Christmas. Skipping the hassle of scrolling Amazon and shopping big box stores can bring you unique and memorable experiences, with local honey sweetening the deal! With hives tucked in for the winter, beekeepers and their retail locations are stocked with bottled honey, ready for sale and sharing. Happbee gift-giving!
Sarah A. Meyer is the beekeeper and owner of Worker’s Ransom Honey based in Geneva, New York. She set up her first hive in 2014 and now sells local honey from bees pollinating the Finger Lakes region. You can learn more about Worker’s Ransom Honey by reading about Sarah’s beekeeping adventures shared in her monthly From the Hive column for Edible Finger Lakes and following Worker’s Ransom on social media @workersransom on Facebook and @workersransomhoney on Instagram. To contact Sarah, email firstname.lastname@example.org.