Canberra

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1st Canberra Urban Honey Harvest

It has been hard to be patient through the cool spring and early summer, while we watched and worried if the bees were collecting enough nectar and pollen for their health and well being. It’s only when bees have an abundance of stores that we take honey from the hive for harvest. Mother nature has rewarded our patience and this week we harvested our first Canberra Urban Honey.

We only take honey from the hive when we are confident the bees are collecting and storing enough nectar and pollen stores to see them through winter. People in Canberra will know its been an incredibly dry summer with little rain – and that means fewer flowers.  It seems obvious to say bees rely on flowers for their food source (pollen and nectar) but I think sometimes we have to say it out loud to reinforce these little creatures are reliant on their environment for survival.

 

Bees rely on flowers for pollen and nectar

Bees rely on flowers for pollen and nectar

The honey in the frames was a deep yellow and it was hard to contain our excitement as we pulled the frames from the hives.

It’s such a joy to see a hive of bees thriving and collecting enough pollen and nectar for ongoing survival, and have some spare to share with you and me.

Honey in the frame - from the beehive

Honey in the frame – from a Canberra Urban Honey hive

We place these honey frames into a honey extractor and spin the honey out. The honey extractor used for this harvest was given to me, and Canberra Urban Honey by a dear family friend. I am deeply grateful that Peter, a commercial beekeeper  in his 80′s gave it to me before he died. His parting words to me, in a thick Sicilian accent, were: “Always oil the handle Carmen, with a good Italian oil, not that cheap rubbish”. I cherish my  hand driven honey extractor and the memories it evokes of Peter.

 

Our family friend and mentor, Peter - A master beekeeper from Sicily.

Our family friend and mentor, Peter – A master beekeeper from Sicily.

 

We place two frames of honey in the extractor at a time, turn the handle and watch to see what happens…

Extracting the honey

Extracting the honey

The first harvest of Canberra Urban Honey was a rich, dark orange and the smell was incredible. The aroma was the zest of orange!

It takes a couple of minutes to spin the honey frames by hand, we had ten frames to spin. So it was an hour or so later, we were able to start bottling the first of the long awaited first harvest.

Liquid Gold - Canberra Urban Honey

Liquid Gold – Canberra Urban Honey

 

It was incredibly exciting to bottle the honey and think of sharing it with the people who had put their faith in us and supported our crowd funded project through Pozible.

We had just enough honey to send to our  Pozible supporters and fill an order for the one of Canberra’s five star hotels.

Naked Canberra Urban Honey

Naked Canberra Urban Honey

It has been hard at times to wait and watch while our urban bees struggled through the cool spring and dry summer. We continue to watch over them as we enter into autumn and hope they continue to have access to flowers over the coming months.

Thank you to the bees and flowers who have given us this precious honey. For those who have it, I hope you cherish it as much as we do xx

Our Honey - a gift for participants in The Human Brochure Canberra tourist campaign

Our Honey – a gift for participants in The Human Brochure Canberra tourism campaign

 

The bees that did all the work for Canberra Urban Honey first harvest

The bees that did all the work for Canberra Urban Honey first harvest

 

Kind regards

Carmen and the Honey Delight family

:-)

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