Late September: Lavender Honey and Pruning Days

A few years ago, a swarm of honeybees landed in one of our willow oaks. At the time, I phoned the local cooperative extension service and was referred to Barron Church, a local beekeeper. Before Barron had a chance to come collect the bees, they had already moved on...but an idea had been planted. Keeping bees at the farm is in line with our sustainability efforts, and honey is a value-added product. So this past May, Barron brought two hives out to the farm and situated them alongside the lavender field.

Over the summer I sampled as many different types of honey that I could find, ranging from tupelo to lavender to local wildflower. I've learned that some honey producers simply infuse the lavender scent into clover honey - a practice that does not seem exactly authentic. I like to think that the honey Barron harvested from our farm in August is the real deal, the result of happy bees working the lavender flowers. Yet when it comes to taste, I've decided that most honey is, in fact, similar...with only minor subtleties. Honey's benefits are well-known. It is a natural preservative and has been used in healing remedies for at least 4000 years. It acts as an antibacterial agent and is commonly used for dressing wounds. Honey also contains vitamins and beneficial antioxidants.

On a personal note, over the next several weeks I'll be pruning lavender - a job you can't run away from because it's vital to the plants' health and longevity. Pruning needs to be completed by Halloween - in time for the first frost. Happy Autumn!