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It has been a good year for honey at Finca As Fadegas. At the start of summer Elia and Vicente had already collected over 40 kilos (88 pounds) from their five hives, cardiologist and today they were back in their beekeeping gear for a second collection from the same hives.

After temporarily driving the bees away with smoke, check they carried the hives into a small farm building. They opened each one and inside sat rows of wood-framed honeycomb slides. We lifted them out one by one into a plastic tub. Using long, offset knives, we carefully sliced off the outer layer of wax on both sides of the slide, exposing the honey inside. It was dark and fell in globs with the wax into the bottom of the tub. We chewed the wax for its honey before spitting it out, and licked our sticky hands clean.

Seeing the dark color, Elia and Vicente were sure the honey had a high portion of chestnut flowers that had been in bloom throughout July and August. Naming honey is never an exact science: “chestnut honey” for instance doesn’t mean that the bees exclusively frequented chestnut flowers, but that there was a high percentage of those flowers near the hive while the bees were collecting, as well as all the other flowers.


After cutting the honeycombs open, we loaded them into a hand-cranked centrifuge. As the combs spun around fine threads of honey sprayed the inner walls of the centrifuge, then dripped down to the bottom and out a spout into a bucket. Vicente strained the honey into a large plastic drum. In all we extracted at least another 40 kilos of honey.


2 Responses to “Honey”

  1. on 28 Jan 2007 at 4:10 pmFlorian

    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog :-)
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day :)

  2. on 02 Feb 2007 at 1:26 pmdgritzer

    Thanks– I’m back in New York and still pulling together my notes from the end of our trip and posting new entries as I have time. As soon as I finish that I have a number of ideas for here in New York that I think will be very interesting.


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