Friday, December 04, 2009

Sleep Tight, Garden...

Our extern from the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Denise Quintanilla, took this beautiful picture of the garden after we put it to bed for the winter. Nighty, night, Garden. Sleep Tight!

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Jeff on TV and Bees

My Honey, ZinFarmerChef Jeff (that is a long title, I know!) was on View from the Bay today. We have been busy promoting the Down Home:Downtown Cookbook from Healdsburg to New York to Mississippi with a couple of stops in San Francisco. It was quite exciting to see him filming and we are so pleased with the video.§ion=view_from_the_bay

If you would like to purchase the cookbook it is available on our website:

We are in the process of putting the garden to bed. It is always kind of sad, and a LOT of work. In the past couple of weeks we have also put the bees to bed.

I will do my best to explain "why" you have to manage the hives in the winter. Bees keep a constant temperature in the hive of 92 degrees, no matter the outside temperature. This means in the summer they cool the hive by getting droplets of water, deposit them in the front of the cells and then fan, creating air conditioning. In the fall they do what they can to keep the honey "stores" warm and fluid.

Once the temperatures really drop the bees don't leave the hive to forage because there is not much food available and because they need to stay warm. They begin to die off leaving only about 20% of the peak summer population. The die off leaves a small number of bees that really need to keep the hive alive by taking care of the brood/nursery. If left with more honey than they need (35# is the optimum amount)they will literally kill themselves trying to keep it warm!

We had to reduce the number of "supers" or boxes that comprise the hive. This is easier said than done because the bees are not ready to leave the frames of honey. In moving the bees off of the frames, we first had to lift the "supers" holding them to the top of the stack. We will go out tomorrow morning when it is cold and remove the supers before the bees go to the top of the hive as they do in the course of the day. Does any of this make sense? I hope so!

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