As summer transitions to fall, gardens full of fruits and vegetables are producing the last of their harvests. There is another type of harvest that Wake Robin residents and staff anxiously await every year. The honey harvest!
This sweet endeavor started in 2008. In that span of time, the Wake Robin bees have produced a total of 738 pounds of honey. Since 2008, Wake Robin has been home to over 3 million bees. That’s quite a population! With Wake Robin being situated on over 136 acres of land, the bees are quite happy to enjoy all the wildflowers and clover that stretches throughout campus.
Residents are involved in production from start to finish. Residents visit the bees throughout the year and especially keep an eye on them over the cold winter. During honey extraction, the beekeepers decide how much honey they need to leave in the hives so that the bees can survive the cold winter temperatures. Then there is another group that volunteers to assist with the extraction and jarring process. The honey is extracted from the hives and is then poured into 8 oz. jars that are labeled with the Wake Robin logo. The honey is sold in the Wake Robin corner shop, as well as, given to incoming residents in a welcome basket.
Unfortunately, this winter was not kind to the Wake Robin bees as it was so long and cold; many of the bees did not survive. The beekeepers welcomed fifty thousand new bee residents into the hives. They seemed to settles in to their new home just fine as this year; the bees produced 42 pounds of honey. The head beekeeper mentioned that they might decide to extract again before winter. They are five residents that helped with the bees this year, including three that were a part of the jarring process.
Beekeeping is certainly one of the more unique activities at Wake Robin. While not every resident is brave enough to don the white beekeeping suit, the beehives represent what it means to be a truly resident driven community. In 2008, when a resident had the idea to place hives in the fields of Wake Robin – that idea flourished into a now 10 year tradition.
(information provided by beekeepers of Wake Robin)