Honeybees dart from blossom to blossom at Weaver’s Orchard, returning to hives managed by local beekeeper Gary Stockin. Weaver’s has been partnering with Stockin’s Apiaries in Strasburg, PA for decades.
“It’s been a blessing,” Orchard President Ed Weaver says of this partnership with Stockin’s Apiaries. “We get the benefit of the hives here for pollination,” and “at the same time we get the honey.”
Our Own Orchard Blossom Honey
For many years, honey from the orchard’s beehives had been mixed together with other local honey, to be sold in our farm market and elsewhere. Then, in 2016, Weaver’s started selling Our Own Orchard Blossom Raw Honey with honey gathered exclusively from the hives at the orchard.
During the first year or two, customers loved the Orchard Blossom Honey so much we sold out of it quickly. Gary brought in more beehives, and now, this year, the supply has met the demand!
This time of year, many people seek out local honey for relief from seasonal allergies. The Orchard Blossom Honey is raw honey, which means it is not filtered or heated. Gary likens raw honey to raw vegetables because of the enzymes active in raw honey. He says that many grocery store brands change the honey to provide a long shelf life. “You can make honey worse,” Gary says of these grocery store brands, “but you can’t make it better.” It’s delicious just as it is, fresh from the comb.
If you’ve been purchasing Orchard Blossom honey over the past few years, you may notice how the color of the honey changes. Sometimes it’s a rich amber color, while other years it’s a translucent gold, or anywhere in between. The color varies, says Ed, depending on what flowers are in bloom and which blossoms the bees are collecting from. The consistency remains the same, but the flavor may change slightly with notes of different flowers.
Gary has commented the honey we are selling in our market is some of the best he has ever had! Ed attributes this to good weather, the combination of the flowers, and the health of the bees here at the orchard.
Two things in particular keep the Weaver’s hives healthy.
First, Gary is careful not to transport the bees more than necessary. Often, beehives are transported by tractor trailer load from farm to farm, all over the country. That wasn’t always the case, notes Ed. Bees used to be kept on farms year round.
Transit can put stress on the hive, weakening the bees’ immune systems. When Gary does need to move the hives, he is careful to do so at times when bees want to be safely nestled in their hives anyway–rather than when it’s warm out and they’d rather be buzzing around the orchard.
Second, Weaver’s is always careful to protect honeybees from pesticides. We use an Integrated Pest Management approach that protects beneficial insects. “We understand the importance of honeybees,” says Ed. “We’ve going to do everything we can to protect them. We need them for pollination.”
“Weaver’s is always very careful and cautious,” says Gary.
Stop by the market and watch the observation hive in action! We have colorful signs nearby to educate your kids about honeybees and pollination, so you can sneak in an educational moment while you shop!
Did you know? Honey bees are unique pollinators because, unlike many other pollinators, honey bees actually want the pollen—not just the nectar—so they can give their developing larvae a protein boost. Pollen sticks to the bees’ fuzzy bodies, and when they rub some of it off, it pollinates flowers.
Swing by our market and stock up on honey! It’s the perfect time because it’s 10% off through July 4!