Over the past month, we have come through the main canola bloom, our hives are stacking tall and we are nearly ready for the second extraction. We pulled 18 supers or about 400 lbs of honey for those customers who had pre-ordered from us. The pre-order customers get first dibs the first harvest. We split our hives aggressively in spring and so that first harvest is usually quite small for us.
Our next harvest, expected for next weekend should be more than 120 supers, 3-4000lbs is my expectation. We will be extracting this at a local beekeepers extracting facility instead of at home as we have in the past.
We picked up a wholesale contract with Beemaid this season and part of that contract is that our honey will be extracted at a CFIA certified honey house. Though we run a really clean operation, we have not yet been certified, this is the main project I will be focusing on over our 6 month winter. The Beemaid contract blows the door wide open, whatever we can produce they will take and market for us, the only thing holding us back from a rapid expansion is the lack of a facility to extract our own honey at home!
One of the obligations for having a contract is that a minimum of 5000 lbs must be delivered or the contract can be considered voided. I decided to join the waiting list to ensure that I had a shot at a contract for next season, when I expected to be ready for it. Several Beemaid members put in a good word for us, as they thought we would be a good fit for the Co-op. As chance would have it, we were chosen for a contract this season. This sent me scrambling to cover both my local obligation to the customers who have supported us over the last 5 years of growth and always had our back and also to hang onto the contract.
We got lucky, 5 miles from us a quarter section of canola has been reseeded, the fresh bloom began just as the bloom in our other locations began to dry off. We have moved the majority of our hives to this location and will get a double canola crop this season. The hives are stronger which means they will bring in plenty of honey over the next few weeks, which we could not have expected!
We moved all the hives in through one evening and early morning, the hives were far too heavy to lift by hand, and I was borrowed a crane truck from my uncle to transport them. My uncle runs a monument company and the crane truck is used to transport and move heavy concrete and stone monuments. It was slow going and there were plenty of stings to go around, but my employee Miguel and I agreed that a double crop was worth 2 uncomfortable days of frustration. We got back to the yard today and leveled the hives, and added space to the ones that were ready for more room.
Very excited to see where we end up over the next few months!