Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Harvesting Honey

By far the highlight of the senior high camp's agricultural interaction last week was our biannual honey harvest!

Our Apiaries

Last week, in case you didn't notice, was extremely hot.  Despite this, our dedicated senior high campers came out near noon on Thursday to observe honeycombs being extracted from our apiaries.  And of course, Tristan and Camp Director Rick Hargreaves were very dedicated as well, since they were the ones who put on a second layer of fabric over their normal clothes to retrieve the honeycombs in the first place.

The Campers Watch the Beekeepers Suit Up

Smoking Them Out
We brought the hives back to the kitchen so that the bees would not find us as we extracted the honey.  In the kitchen, Tristan and Mr. Hargreaves heated up a specially-designed knife for cutting the protective beeswax from the comb in order to free the honey.  Most of us took turns cutting the wax.

Like a Hot Knife Through Beeswax
The next step was to put the honeycombs in the centrifuge-based extraction device and spin them.  The devices works like this: the honeycombs are spun around so fast the the honey on the outer side is flung from the comb and runs down the bottom of the device.

Putting it In

Spinning It

Taking it Out -- It Needs to Be Turned Over

At this point, if you turn the spigot on the bottom, the raw, unfiltered honey runs out.

Said raw, unfiltered honey has dead bee larvae and bits of beeswax in it (both of which are technically edible), so we pour the honey through a fine sieve.

They say eating bugs is the way of the future...
...but you probably don't want to get in on that yet.
 This is the point at which we can put the filtered honey into bottles for sale.

 I also got a look at the honey barn where the Petit Jean Farmer's Market takes place on Saturdays!  It was rather deserted when I was there, but during the market it is very crowded, usually.

The Sales Counter

By the way, on the way to the kitchen, we determined the well by the abandoned house is about 25 feet.  One lucky camper got to name the monster in well after himself for guessing the depth right.

Little does he know it's already called the Witch of Camp Mitch.

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