We hope our winter CSA members enjoyed their 4oz honey jars! The hive that it was harvested from has been active for five years. That’s a lot of continuous pollination that allows for our crops to exist at all. That said, most unfortunately all three of the hives we have had at Big Train Farm died this winter. They died from a combination of lax care but also this incredibly difficult winter that killed off a surprising number of hives of even the veteran beekeepers in the area. Bees have many challenges, as you may have heard, including the always-present varroa mite, the ever-elusive Colony Collapse Disorder, starvation and various other illnesses so getting bees through a winter such as we’ve had really is quite the challenge. The loss of hives over the winter is not unusual, sadly. Beekeeping is tough these days!
With that in mind, we are happy to announce that this year Mindy will be taking the helm of all of the beekeeping at Big Train Farm – in addition to finishing her last summer at graduate school! She has been very excited about this decision and has been deep in preparation for the past couple of months reading every text she can find, completing a series of courses through the R.I. Beekeepers Association and acquiring new equipment. She’ll be painting the new hive boxes in the next couple weeks and by this time next month Big Train Farm will be home to 6 pounds of Italian honeybees that will live in two separate hives! Our goal in keeping with good stewardship of the land we share is to prioritize the health of our bees, so harvesting honey will come later – if it happens to be a great year for the bees, we may get some honey. We’ll see!
So we’ll hopefully have more pictures to come over the season and definitely reach out to Mindy if you have questions or to chat about bees!