Bee Thinking

Recently, I spent a few hours at Bee Thinking in their Portland, OR retail storefront placing the names and faces together that I have been talking to over the last year or so. The Bee Ranchers only uses Western Red Cedar boxes for our hive bodies and, after going thru a couple of suppliers since our founding, I am happy I stumbled upon Bee Thinking. They make beautiful hive bodies and woodenware and the quality of their boxes has been very satisfactory.

What I found to be interesting though, is how passionate the Bee Thinking brand has become with everything that has to do with honeybees and pollinators. They really are trying to change the way we think about honeybees and their employees and retail store show it. Mead and honey tasting, beekeeping classes, beekeeping supplies and innovative beekeeping products are just a few examples of what you will find here.

If you are ever in Portland, I highly suggest you stop in their store to browse their beekeeping supplies, taste some of the local honey they sell or belly up to the mead bar and try some local mead.  bethinking.com

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Hardware & Honey!

The Bee Ranchers Orinda honey is now available at Orinda Hardware!
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Why Orinda Hardware you ask?Back in 1952, my step dad and his father started the Orinda Hardware store and I, along with the Brand Manager of the Bee Ranchers, grew up stocking shelves and helping customers there. I have a lifetime of memories in that store that I wouldn’t trade for anything and when the current manager approached me about selling our honey there, I was honored. So, this is my tribute to my step father, Dick Keyser, who was a great man and helped shape me into who I am today.

This current spring crop of honey was harvested, gravity strained and jarred in Orinda a couple of days ago! And as always, our honey can be purchased at Re-Chic Boutique at 101 Orinda Way.

Enjoy!

Busy Peninsula Bees

Ranch Foreman gets highlighted in local article.

We were pleased to get some press on the clients we work with on the Peninsula. The article was posted on the The Almanac. Great article highlighting several beekeepers working within the area. Worth a download (PDF) of the printed version. Take 5 minutes and give it a read if you are interested in what we are up to on the Peninsula. Click the link below to take you there.

The Almanac, Print Issue April 9th, 2014

Harvest Time!

An inside perspective by Ranch Foreman, Mike Vigo.

04_Leigh_Anne_StumpThere are certain times of the beekeeping season that I can’t stand and then there are some that I can’t wait for.

July/August are 2 months of the season which I despise due to the typical summer dearth where there are not many flowers in bloom, which means a lack of food, which means the bees need to be fed if they don’t have adequate honey/pollen stores built up from the spring. Think livestock.

The Fall, however, is harvest season and a rewarding time for those who are lucky enough to have honey to harvest. As a beekeeper, my #1 satisfaction comes from maintaining a healthy colony that survive the winter time. The 2nd best thing is harvesting honey.

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The harvest time is exciting for me because of all of you. More often then not when I show up for an extraction at your house I am greeted with friends and family of yours who are curious/interested/fascinated by the extraction process and the wonderment of the honeybee. It is a perfect setting to talk/educate anyone about honeybees. Everyone seems to walk away with a better understanding of how important the honeybee is to all of us and how fun beekeeping can be.

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This Fall harvest season was similar to last year in that overall, I harvested or am about to harvest the same amount of honey as last year. The difference is I am harvesting less honey in Lamorinda and San Mateo county then last year and quite a bit more in Alameda. Alameda is the oasis for a honeybee. The environment seems ripe for the honeybee to survive and they really do a terrific job in storing excess honey for the beekeeper to extract. I am guessing they do so well there vs. the other counties because the fog rolls in, cools and dampens the vegetation, rolls out as the sun comes out which helps to sustain any bloom longer. The other 2 counties are hotter and drier and, with the lack of rains, the bloom does not stay for long. In fact, early reports in California are suggesting the 2013 Honey harvest will be another tough year in terms of yield.

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So, enjoy your honeybees, enjoy any honey you reap and enjoy these pictures from a harvest I did earlier in the month in Alameda. The photos are all courtesy of Leigh-Anne Stump who was invited by her friend to participate in the harvest. Her pictures did an amazing job of capturing the essence of a small, local harvest.

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Wonderful Beekeeping Video

3:32 of time you won’t regret giving up!

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Every once in awhile you come across something that is so good you feel compelled to share it with a broader audience. This video is a great example of just one of those instances. A beautiful, informative and intimate micro-documentary focused on a well known Bay Area beekeeper and honey supplier. A great story of rooftop beekeeping success in the heart of San Francisco. An episode (and image) of “the City Exposed” courtesy of Mike Kepka and SF Gate.

Watch the video here: the City Exposed: Rooftop Beekeeping

Enjoy, we sure did!

Outstanding job Mike Kepka!

The Marketplace “Mellifera” Movement

We’re pleased to see that Alameda Marketplace has their own private label honey on the shelves now!

As many of you know Alameda Marketplace has been a great client of The Bee Ranchers. Earlier this year, they purchased hives from us and hired Mike to maintain them. The hives are located throughout Alameda as well as on their rooftop.

It’s wonderful to see the fruits (nectar) of their passion and dedication come to reality with the end result being jars of wonderful local honey to sell to the residents of Alameda. And as Donna Layburn (owner) states, “The real focus is to educate our customers about the importance of honeybees and the environment. The honey just happens to be a very sweet, tasty and healthy by-product of supporting (ranching) honeybees”.

Once again we salute Alameda Marketplace for their dedication to support local honeybees and for being such a great client / collaborator in this important effort.

For those of you who are curious… mellifera? CLICK HERE

Roberts Markets of Woodside

Roberts Market is selling The Bee Ranchers honey!

We’ve been fortunate enough to forge a relationship with Roberts Market of Woodside and supply them with locally harvested wildflower honey to sell under their “Roberts Kitchen” label. The honey comes from several hives we have located in the Woodside and Portola Valley area.

For those of you not familiar with Roberts, it is truly a town marketplace that, “has it all.” Grocery, fresh produce, deli, wine and spirits and a great “oldstyle” meat department. We know our honey under the Roberts label will be well received by the Woodside community. HURRY WHILE SUPPLY LASTS!

To learn more about Roberts rich history (originally started in San Francisco), click HERE.