New harvest available at the Embarcadero Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in Spring 2015! Follow @LLASF for dates.
Last spring, students launched a new beekeeping program in LLA’s Organic Opportunities garden that is pollinating Treasure Island, and bringing locally-farmed honey to the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market.
Led by Garden teacher Karuna Holm, students overcame their initial fears, donned protective gear, and learned to love the new colony, which houses over 50,000 italian honey bees.
Students worked in full-body bee suits to get the first harvest ready for the Farmer’s Market. They spent the first semester growing comfortable with their new insect neighbors, feeding the bees homemade sugar-water until the bees ventured out to find their own source of nectar.
Over time, LLA’s honeybees collected at least 50 gallons of nectar from Treasure Island, transforming it into ten gallons of pure honey, according to Paul Koski, a member of the San Francisco Beekeepers Association who has volunteered his time, equipment, and expertise to make the beekeeping endeavor a success.
With Koski’s guidance, students pulled twenty frames of cured honey from the hive, shaking the bees off, and smoking them into submission. Garden students Victor Moo-Yah and Robert Williams were instrumental in this process, remaining cool amid the buzzing frenzy.
To extract the honey, students used a hot bar to melt the wax caps off the honey cells, placed four frames into a large metal centrifuge to spin the honey off the cells, and collected the sweet liquid in the bottom of centrifuge. The honey was then strained to remove any remaining wax particles and sealed into jars donning “Bee The Change” labels that students designed.
Three students accompanied Holm to the Embarcadero Farmer’s Market on Saturday, November 15, the first of two market dates for the Schoolyard to Market booth operated by LLA with support from CUESA at the historic San Francisco location.
“We had to hide some of our honey,” said Holm at the market, “it was selling so fast, we were going to run out!” The jars she hid will emerge at the market on December 6, just in time for the holidays.