I hope everyone in the Houston area is recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey this past week. We feel extremely lucky and blessed that we were able to stay dry, both at home in Cypress and at our shop in Tomball. Since the storm developed very quickly in the Gulf of Mexico, we weren’t able to relocate any hives from areas that had historically flooded. Three of our out-yards at The Arbor Gate, Verdant Tree Farm, and the Tomball Community Garden were especially on our minds, since they were either in low-lying areas or close to creeks and reservoirs.
Knowing that this past Saturday would be a torrential downpour, we cancelled our Introduction to Beekeeping Class. The Tomball Farmer’s Market was cancelled and we closed our shop in anticipation of the storm. As the rain moved away from the Houston area and water began to recede, I was able to lay eyes on most of our hives. Unbelievably, all of our hives are still there. Once the ground dries enough, I’ll fully inspect to see if any took on water at the bottom and take any necessary measures to help those colonies rebound.
We already support Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries through our hives at the Tomball Community Garden. Those hives not only pollinate the crops that are donated to TEAM, but we’ve pledged to donate 10% of our honey sales from those hives to TEAM. As the recovery efforts began, we quickly saw the good work that TEAM was doing to help victims of Harvey. Last week, we doubled our pledge and dropped off a check to TEAM so they can put that money to work for local recovery.
Where are we this week?
We responded to a swarm call yesterday. Many hives were displaced by Harvey, so if you need some boxes and feeders for the late swarms we may find this week, we will open our store Saturday and Sunday. We also heard that the Tomball Farmer’s Market cancelled another week, so if you need some honey, we also have that at our store in Tomball. The Jersey Village Farmer’s Market will be held this Sunday at the Jersey Village City Hall, from 12 pm to 3 pm, so come see us.
Next Saturday, September 9th, we will host an Introduction to Beekeeping Class at our store in Tomball. This class is geared toward aspiring beekeepers who do not yet have bees. We’ll put you in a bee suit, talk about bees and their hives, look though our classroom hive, and try to answer any questions you may have. The class runs lasts 1-1.5 hours and costs $40. We only schedule 6 openings per class, so everyone gets some attention, and we still have slots available at this time.
Beekeeping plans for the next few weeks.
Last year, we harvested 10-15% of our honey crop in September and October. We haven’t seen the goldenrod flow begin yet, but all of this recent rain will probably generate a large fall nectar flow. Be sure that you have drawn supers on your hives to capitalize on the flow when it begins. If you haven’t harvested your summer honey, do it now and return those empty combs to the hive to give your hives plenty of room for dark, fall goldenrod nectar.
We pride ourselves on our local honey. Our honey this spring was light and floral and our summer honey was a beautiful amber color with incredible flavor, even when it differed between our many yards. When we bottle our local honey, we put a red cap on the squeeze bottle and put the location on the label, so you know just how local our honey is.
As a store owner that sells honey and beekeeping supplies, we don’t want to limit our honey inventory to just our local honey. After many requests for specific varietals, we have begun stocking incredible varietal honey from other respected beekeepers across the country. Sure, our honey is great, but sometimes you may want the citrus twang found only in pure Orange Blossom Honey. If you want some honey for a BBQ sauce, without the robust flavor of our smoked honey, try some Mesquite Honey. These are our two newest varietals that you can try and buy in our Tomball store and purchase here, from our web store.
We’ll add more varietals as we continue to vet suppliers to ensure all the honey we sell is pure, raw honey.
How can we help you?
This past week, we were asked to put more information on our website for those that aren’t on social media. This post and future, more frequent posts, are a response to that request. If there’s any information that you’d like to see in these updates or via our classes, please let us know in the comments or directly at our store or market booth.