Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Swarm of Beekeepers

Thursday was the last meeting of the year for the SE MN Beekeepers Association - a traditional pizza party. Members also bring a dish to pass made with honey.

Since I had such gorgeous greens growing in the high tunnel, I made a spinach salad with honey-mustard dressing. Everything but the roasted pepitas and pomegranate seeds in the salad and the mayonnaise and lemon juice in the dressing came from our farm!  (It was so pretty and delicious, I made it again the next day.)
After feasting on pizza, salads and many scrumptious honey desserts, there was a brief meeting and presentation ("Cooking with Honey") followed by a honey-tasting session, where we could sample each others' honey crop, and a seed exchange.  I  came home with a bunch of native prairie wildflower seeds I intend to sow tomorrow.
One of the members, Fant,  shared a sample of cherry blossom honey he purchased in Tokyo  - this precious little jar of honey cost $50 (and tasted great, I might add.)  We also got to try some exotic malaleuka honey from New Zealand.
It was Ed's last meeting serving as president of the club.  Everyone appreciates his energy and enthusiasm as well as his expertise.  Ed brought his refractometer to test the water content of honey, so I tested mine.  It had a  bit more moisture than is ideal, perhaps because of the wet summer we had. Too much moisture can affect the storage  quality of raw honey; it could ferment. We are keeping the bulk of our honey in the freezer, so that should not be an issue.  Plus, half  of our honey will be made into mead - we want it to ferment!
Sister Marlys and Sister Alice, the beekeepers at Assisi Heights, allowed me to snap their photo. They are two pretty amazing women!

All of the beekeepers are so  generous sharing their knowledge - and among the 50 or so members there was a wealth of knowledge. My resolution for next year is to participate in this club more regularly.

When I got home from the bee meeting, Rog had just finished bottling his first batch of raspberry mead made with our honey and our raspberries.  It has to age for a year, but we taste-tested the leftover bit that didn't fit in the bottles and it was yummy and it is a spectacular magenta color.  It promises to be marvelous mead!

Thanks, bees. (Thanks, Rog.)

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