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Williamsport, OH, 43164

Honeyrun Farm produces pure raw, honey, handcrafted soap, and beeswax candles in Williamsport, Ohio

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Buckwheat is for lovers

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Happy Valentine's everybody!

This year I got my lover an entire field of flowers.

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Buckwheat flowers!

And I put them all around the house.

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It worked out just fine. She was very happy. Fortunately and conveniently, my lover doubles as my spouse.

It's great! I'm a lucky one, I'll tell ya. It really saves you a lot of running around.

But unfortunately, I was about eight months too early with the flowers. So for Valentines Day my lover and I just dressed up and went out. I even wore a tie. Fancy, but I still couldn't compete with the fancy mixed drinks.

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But back to those flowers...

I want to tell you about our 2017 buckwheat endeavors. I can say it went much better than our 2016 debacle

For one, I didn't burn up the tractor. Probably because I had an experienced crew.

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The 14 acres (This year, surrounding our house!) were planted in mid May, bloomed in late June, and the honey came off the thirty some hives in August. 

My experienced crew taste tested.

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Not bad, but we can do better. The honey did have that robust molasses buckwheat taste, but the color wasn't quite right. It was a brownish, instead of the thick black we were expecting. I think it was just a matter of the bees mixing in other nectars.

All total, the first round tallied to about 600 pounds.

Time for round two. This time it was a succession planting. I mowed half the field in early August and the other half three weeks later.

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Replanting buckwheat is pretty easy. Just wait until the seeds are mature and hard, then mow it. After a couple rains, it comes right up.

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It was a good idea to spread it out. With the succession bloom, we had bees foraging on buckwheat from early September through late October. 

The honey came off in November. Just under 700 pounds this time. Not bad. 

And round two got the color right:

Wow! Is that motor oil going up that tube?

Wow! Is that motor oil going up that tube?

So all in all, it was a successful buckwheat year. No disasters, and over a thousand pounds of this dark speciality honey. Unlike last year, we'll actually be in the black. By my rough estimates, it takes around 600 lbs for us to at least break even on 14 acres. That's paying for land rent, seed, farming equipment, and my very expensive crew. Of course I'm not including my own cheap labor.

An accountant would look at our years of buckwheat records and tell us that we'd do better if we just planted corn. Thank God we're not accountants.

Because buckwheat honey production has hidden intrinsic value. For one, we get to look at flowers all summer. And we get to watch bees working those flowers. And when you have a million flowers out the back door, you're never short on bouquets and smiles. But most of all, and this is a biggie, we end up with an awesome and very unique product.

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A product that never fails to raise eyebrows in the sampling line.

"C'mon Mom! Show them the buckwheat!"

"C'mon Mom! Show them the buckwheat!"

So if you haven't had a chance to try this Guinness of honeys, come on out to the Worthington Market. My lover will greet you with a smile and a sample bottle. If you like it, take home a bottle for your own lover. If you don't like it, well, we've got an entire octave of honeys to chose from. Buckwheat being at the bottom. Our low B.

I can't think of a better way of saying 'I love you.' A bottle of honey, any honey, says it all. Sweet and sexy. Please just make sure it was produced in the US.

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If not for your country, then for the sake of your lover.

Sweet Reminiscence

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Some of you laughed at that last post. Some of you did not.

And many of you were just plain confused. (Not my intent at all. That post was meant to offend, not confuse.)

Kidding. Kidding. But rest assured, I have been asked to dial it back a bit. Sorry about the spoofing.    

Anyway, some of you thought, 'What is this?' Semi trucks? Forklifts? Feeding America? Isn't this supposed to be about beekeeping? Or at the very least about Honeyrun Farm? Nope, not always. Sometimes, especially this time of year, I like to think about the industry of beekeeping. The commercial way- the way most of the hives in this country are kept-- migratory. Maybe you've heard that honey bees are directly responsible for about one third of everything you eat. To make this impossible feat a reality, there are some logistics to overcome. It's a little more involved than keeping a few boxes in the backyard.

Over a million hives are headed to California right now. This is because the year's first great monoculture bloom is about to commence. The almonds!  Back in 2006 I got to be a part of it. And now I sometimes like to reminisce.

So... to hopefully clear up some of that confusion, hit the link below and let's go play in the big leagues:

The Super Bowl of Beekeeping