What’s your biggest fear? Heights? Public speaking? Thousands of bees swarming around you? On-the-job training took on a whole new meaning during my visit to Lyle and Heidi Farrell at Harvest Place in Juneau, WI.
Suit up! Bees are threatened by dark colors so light and bright is the way to go. They can be sneaky little guys, so double and triple check the zippers! Once you’re in the suit, it feels a tad like an astronaut prepping for outer space. The hood itself was the most terrifying; a bit claustrophobic but essential to keep those stingers at a distance!
Volume on! We headed out to the hives to check on the bees and collect some raw honey. Once the cover was removed, the first thing I noticed was the noise! You hear them at an enormous volume and can actually feel them knocking into your suit like little Nerf darts. It’s quite a shock as a first timer, with lots of nervous, excited energy on both sides – kind of like being in a snowstorm of bees!
Carefully… Lyle pulled a frame out of the hive. With the hive exposed, it was a full-on bee frenzy. But not to worry, they’re not out to get you; they’ve each got a job to do. Lyle showed me the combs in the frame, capped with beeswax to protect the liquid gold inside. The full frames of honey can weigh 6 to 7 lbs. Only full frames of honey were collected for extraction so the bees could keep living their best lives.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the lid went back on the hive and we headed back to remove the suits and start the extraction process (more on that in my next blog!). And in case you’re curious, not one sting! Success!
Beekeeper in training, Laura 🐝
Check out the masters at work in our video interview with Lyle and Heidi Farrell.
Fall fruits are available to pre-order now! Head to our shop for all the deets. Available fall products: Oregon pears, Wisconsin Honeycrisp apples, Oregon Mountain Rose apples, New Mexico pistachios and Wisconsin raw honey.