This past weekend we doubled the farms bee (get it?) population by adding two more hives brining the total to 4. If the past two years are any indication we can expect a little over 100 pounds from these gals come harvest time.
As I am sure you have been reading there is a serious crisis going on within the bee population. In the United States and Europe colonies of bees have been dying off in record numbers. There is debate to the cause from mites to fertilizers (some fertilizers were recently banned in the UK because of this).
I can give you first hand the magnitude of the problem. Myself, my Chaljeri partner Chris and our friend Tom had 14 active hives in the fall of last year. When box tops were removed in the spring of this year 11 of the 14 hives were dead, in Toms case all 10 of his --leaving close to 800 pounds of honey behind (so they didnt starve!).
In an attempt to end this on a less somber note I have attached a picture of myself in full bee outfit regalia. This is me raising a hive we keep in a little clearing in the middle of the woods where we are trying to grow grapes and apples. We keep the hive hoisted in a tree to keep it from the bears (the need to do this was a lesson learned the hard way). I am dressed like this (with blue jeans and a flannel shirt as well as a hat underneath) because by being stung a few times I have become allergic. So have a chuckle.
The last week was a busy one for Chaljeri meats as we move closer towards our official "opening day" on June 3. Our website went live on Friday as our very fine web designer Jana pushed the button. While it is still a work in progress (for example the ability to order is still a week or so away) we like the look and feel of the site. We have also begun to post articles about the health benefits of grass fed beef---especially in comparison to grain fed. We will add more articles and links over time. We welcome any and all suggestions for improvements---my mother has already made several hundred.
On Saturday we participated in a Meet the Farmer day on the upper west side for our CSA partner Cream of the Crop. The manager Bernie organized the event and 10 or so farmers had tables and samples. Everything from chicken, fish and pasta to lettuce, apples (fresh and crisp from last season due to proper storage!), yogurt, butter and of course grass fed beef. We ran into a few vegetarians during the day and Jim was quick to note so were our cows. If you live in Manhatten you can order shares (and in some cases half shares) of all these various products and they are brought in fresh once a week.