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Something Sweet

  Here at the Kiva, we take great pride in the product choices that we offer our customers.  One product that we are particularly proud of is Beebe Lane Honey.  
 Owners Joe and Jen started keeping bees about five years ago.  What started out as a simple hobby with only two bee boxes, grew into a hopeless obsession.  Joe also wanted his children to experience being part of a family business.  So they gave their business a name, and with the help of Jen’s father, an artist, created a label.  Today they keep nearly fifty boxes with potential to expand.

  So what makes Beebe Lane Honey so good?  There are no secret ingredients.  In fact, it’s really about what you won’t find in the honey that makes the difference.  Compared to commercial beehives which are heavily managed with pesticides and antibiotics, Beebe Lane bees are “au naturel”.  Certified through the Naturally Grown program, which is based on National Organic standards of practices and land stewardship, Beebe Lane receives twice yearly inspections.  You can learn more about the Certified Naturally Grown program here.  Another way that Joe encourages sustainable beehives, is to let the bees do what they are good at – finding and making their own food.  Conventionally managed hives are frequently fed a sugary syrup to encourage hive expansion and supplement their diet.  This can negatively impact the natural rhythm of the colony.    

How does it all work?  The bees season begins in late winter as the days get longer and the weather warms.  After hibernating all winter, they begin to emerge as their preferred plants start to bloom.  Spring is a critical time for the bees as they build up their populations and forage.  The first batch of honey, the bees get to keep for themselves to replenish their stores.  After that, Joe begins bottling the different varieties of the season.  The three varieties offered currently are Poison Oak Honey, Blackberry Honey, and Pennyroyal Honey.  This year, you can also look forward to Vine Maple and Blackcap Raspberry flavors.

The Bottling Room.  The saying “slow as molasses” can be applied to honey too.  If it’s too cold, it just won’t run.  So, the bottling room has got to be hot.  Even on a hot summer day, imagine it about twenty degrees hotter, and you have the perfect conditions for extracting and bottling honey.  First the “supers” or boxes of honey get sorted into stacks by variety.  Then Joe uses a knife to cut the outer layer of wax off the comb.  This wax is saved for later use.  The honey now exposed, the box is placed into a hand-crank extractor.  As the extractor spins, (imagine a big, stainless steel salad spinner), the honey is spun out of the comb and collects on the bottom.  Finally, the honey is strained to remove any bits of wax and voila, ready to bottle, label, and ship!  What about all that wax that was saved?  It gets made into moisturizing lip balm and hand salve. 
UNCAPPING
LEFTOVER WAX
THE BOTTLING LINE
THE EXTRACTOR

FINISHED PRODUCT
Lessons from the Bees.  Bees are incredibly complex creatures.  Humans have had an ongoing relationship with them for ages.  What can we learn from them?  For Joe, beekeeping has helped him to become an active observer.  It has reconnected him to the natural world, to the seasons, the weather, the plant cycles.  The realization that has come from this: our connection to the natural world is critical and we hang in a fragile balance.  
        Fun Bee Facts.
  • A healthy hive can be home to 50,000 bees
  • It takes twelve bees to make one teaspoon of honey
  • Bees are the only insects that produce human food
  • Forager bees travel up to 500 miles in a lifetime
  • Queen bees lay up to 2,000 eggs per day

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