It was great seeing all your familiar faces at the City Market Downtown yesterday; all of you troopers who came out to greet us on such a wet, chilly day are appreciated. I’m marking this opening day in my memory banks: I didn’t need to give out a single plastic bag! Everyone brought down their own bags or used their pockets. Thanks!
As far as my bees go, they look great. They’re the strongest I’ve ever seen them at this time of year and I have no signs of any brood diseases. Provided I can keep everyone from swarming, the hives should be fine this year. This rain is going to help get some nectar into the flowers, so hopefully we’ll be okay there too.
As far as the markets, I’m working at keeping all my products in stock. I’m at the City Market Downtown every Saturday this summer and I’ve got my fingers crossed for being at Old Strathcona for a while longer too. Because they’re both on the same day, I have a lovely new person behind my stall at Strathcona. Be sure to say hi and welcome her to the company!
For January and February I’ll be at the Old Strathcona Market instead of the City Market Downtown. I’m across the aisle from Doef’s Greenhouses, halfway down the second aisle from the west wall. I hope everyone had a good Christmas!
Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know I won’t be at the Downtown Market tomorrow. I’m taking a week off! I’ll be back for every week in December, though, so I’ll see you then.
I’ve got fresh Wildflower Honey now! It’s a darker honey, with a nice and mellow caramel taste. It’s completely raw and unprocessed, and may even come complete with the odd flake of wax.
I wanted to apologize about spreading misinformation! I said in a previous post I would be at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market every week until Thanksgiving. That’s not correct! I have an outdoor stall there, along the east wall of the building. That makes me really easy to find and access, once you know I’m there.
However, the Market is only having the outdoor stalls when there are not special events happening. This past Saturday was Artwalk so I wasn’t at the Market. Similarly, I won’t be there for the two weeks of the Fringe Festival, August 15 and 22. But I will be there every other week!
On occasion, I will be at the Salisbury Market in Sherwood Park this year. My main market is the City Market Downtown. I will always be there.
I’m sure we’ve all noticed how hot and dry it’s been this summer. I thought I’d update you on how this is affecting the bees and flowers.
My bees are looking great right now, with no signs of any significant diseases. They have huge populations and I made plenty of new baby hives, or nucs, a few weeks ago. I breed my own queens and this was the first year I feel like I really nailed it. My new queens are big and beautiful, and it didn’t rain during the week they were getting mated. I’m hoping the dry weather allowed them to mate with enough drones that they’ll have long and productive lives.
The flowers though… the heat and lack of rain has been taking it’s toll on the plants. I just took off and jarred the first wildflower honey of the season. It’s got the same taste as other years, but it’s more intense. I think the lack of moisture must have concentrated the flavour compounds in the nectar.
The dandelion and clover haven’t been producing much nectar. You can tell when a plant species isn’t producing because there are just a few bees quickly passing from blossom to blossom, checking things out but not stopping for long. During a nectar flow, there are usually lots of bees spending quite a bit of time sucking down the nectar from every blossom. So it’s been too dry for those two species it seems.
The alfalfa hasn’t produced anything either. This worries me a bit: we cut some of our hayfields a couple weeks ago and got very few bales. The fields are yellow they’re so dry and if we don’t get inches and inches of rain, I don’t know how well the alfalfa will come back. My late-season Fall Honey is mostly thistle and alfalfa so we’ll see what happens with that honey this year.
The native plants seem to be doing better. There’s fireweed blooming right now, which is way earlier than usual but my bees are all over it.
With the rain yesterday and forecasted for this week, the nectar flows might improve. I’m not too concerned because even with the meagre flows I have been seeing, the bees are so strong that they’re managing to bring in a fair amount of honey right now. If there’s nectar out there, they’ll find it!
I’m taking a few Saturdays off from the markets so you might be having a hard time finding me right now. I’ll be back at the markets in Mid-May, when my main market, the Downtown/City Market on 104 St and Jasper Ave, goes back outside.
In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you need honey before then. We can easily arrange for you to come by and pick some up from a house near the U of A.
I wanted to let everyone know I’ll be at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market for the next few Saturdays. I’m near the back, on the way to the concession, beside the ATMs. Come find me! I grew up going to this market. I remember being so short I could barely see over the table tops. My mother would give me money to buy a maple sugar candy every week while she did her shopping. Those were probably the first purchases I ever made. It’s very exciting to become one of the vendors there.
The beekeeping season went very well and the bees were strong going into the winter. I’m looking forward to another year of beekeeping already. Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this year. Happy New Year!