Our PTF gardening guru, Elizabeth, who owns a CSA farm a few miles from town (Amazing Heart Farm) recently got some bee hives from one of her CSA shareholders, Jim. He invited the three of us over on Tuesday to learn how to extract honey from the hive frames. So we headed over to Waynesboro and learned a thing or two.
The first step was to bring all of the frames inside; we had about 17 frames (3 from Elizabeth and 14 from Jim) and we made sure there were no honeybees still clinging on!
Next, we plugged in an uncapping knife that looks kind of like a pie cutter and it heats up. We used this tool to melt off the outer layer of wax from the frames so that the honey was exposed.
We then put the frames into a specially crafted cylindrical metal extractor.
We hand-spun it around, causing the honey to fly out of the combs from the centrifugal force. It then collected at the bottom of the tank. We opened a lever at the bottom, allowing the honey to spill out and flow through two mesh screens- one with large holes and one with fine holes.
And that was it! We made roughly 32 mason jars worth of honey! It was delicious 🙂 The honey from Elizabeth’s frames was a little more floral-tasting than Jim’s because there are more wildflowers and fruit bushes at her farm. Jim’s was darker and more woody tasting because of the pollen from the trees in his yard.
We also enjoyed the company of Jim’s 3 cats, Rufus, Fig Tree, and Truffles.
In other news, we made a delicious stir fry yesterday with some of our own asparagus, walking onions & kale, snap peas from Elizabeth’s farm, and beet greens & bok choi from Broad Valley Orchard CSA.
As well as a strawberry rhubarb pie with rhubarb from PTF and strawberries from the Gettysburg Farmer’s Market.
-Adrienne & Jasmine