A to Z Challenge

Blotanical

Gardening Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog 

Directory

Seattle Fling 2011

Garden bloggers meet in Seattle in 2011

Three Tours Today

Jerry and Trina Sternstien's veggie garden

A visitor on the Franklin Land Trust Farm and Garden Tour last weekend noted that one of the benefits of local garden tours is they allow us to see what lies hidden behind the beautiful flower beds, fields and forests: creativity, art, industry, history, and strong community. On the weekend of July 9, all of these elements will be in full view as the artisans, conservationists, and creative gardeners of Hawley, Colrain and Greenfield open their worlds to the public.

The Hawley Artisan’s and Garden Tour is scheduled for Saturday, July 9 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. I visited Jerry and Trina Sternstein’s garden, known for its hundreds of rhododendrons, and collections of peonies and lilacs that bloom in the spring, but Jerry is an enthusiastic and skillful cook so it is no surprise that he has a beautiful and productive vegetable garden with well organized blueberries and raspberries. He is able to grow hard to find vegetables like fava beans, or his favorite kinds of tomatoes like ‘Donna.’

Trina works with Jerry in the garden, but she also takes inspiration from the rural landscapes and ever-changing skies, capturing them in her finely worked paintings.

A unique tour site is the ‘Energy Garden’ tended by Lark and Beth Thwing. The green they are looking for is the green they can put in their wallets, and the green that benefits our planet. They have installed a solar hot water system, photovoltaics, a wood boiler, a passive solar porch and a heat recovery ventilation system. This is a chance for visitors to learn about some energy saving conservation measures.

Lunch ($12) will be served at The Grove, opposite the East Hawley Meeting House, where a display of Ashfield stone birdbaths and other items will be on display. For more information or to order tickets ($10) call Cyndie Stetson, 339-4231. Tickets will also be available the day of the tour at the Stetson house, 108 West Hawley Road.

Colrain is celebrating its 250th anniversary with months of events including the whole weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, filled with free tours of 16 family farms and gardens. A map and information about the various sites is online at www.colrainma.com.

It should be noted that some sites are only open at certain stated times. The Colrain Seed Farm which grows rare and heirloom seeds will be open only Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a Mushroom Walk will set off from the Colrain Central School on Sunday at 1 p.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

Foxbrook Iris Farm on Call Road will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Deborah Wheeler and her son Andrew will show off the fields of iris. Right now the Japanese iris are blooming.

Keldaby Farm pergola

I stopped to visit Cynthia Herbert and Bob Ramirez at Keldaby Farm with its flock of angora goats. Bob is the farmer, and Cynthia the artist spinning, dying and weaving the angora wool into beautiful shawls, scarves. throws and other items. Visitors will be able to see her looms and her gorgeous creations. Their farm is open both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The two magnificent box elders in the garden are worth the trip.

Practically next door to Keldaby Farm is The Old Barrel Shop where Tony Palumbo and Mike Collins have created a series of beautiful gardens, at the same time that they have operated The Green Emporium. Their gardens will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The West County Winery on North Catamount Road has been added to the tour, but it is not on the map. It will be open to visitors on Saturday, July 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nine private gardens in Greenfield will be on the Greenfield Garden Club’s 19th self guided tour on Saturday, July 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of Greenfield’s finest gardens are included each year on the tour. This year’s tour includes a variety of annual and perennial gardens, vegetable and herb gardens and even a worm composting display.

I finally found out what lies beyond the elegant lions on High Street. Joyce and Steven Lanciani bought this property from the Lyon family six years ago. Since then they have taken down trees, put up fences, weeded a small woodland, and laid out a stone stream in a shade garden.

Because the gardens are at the top of a steep hill they are invisible to those passing by, but there is enormous variety in what is still an in-town lot. Joyce says now that she is retired she is teetering on the fine line between garden passion and obsession.

“There were good bones in the garden,” Joyce said, “but there was a lot of clearing out work to do.”

Arborvitae hedge

They have trimmed an arborvitae hedge in a curving manner to give it interest, and added a pergola by the slightly enlarged perennial borders. The power and beauty of simplicity is a lesson I have to learn again and again; it is made clear in the use of repetition of a row of hemlocks underplanted with hostas.

Tickets ($12) will be on sale the day of the tour from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. at the Trap Plain club garden on the corner of Silver and Federal Streets in Greenfield. All proceeds from the tour go to community service projects including grants for area schools.

Between the Rows   July 2, 2011

Wheat Conference

Bread is called the staff of life and bread means wheat. With our huge wheatfields in the midwest we take wheat for granted. We don’t think about the possibility of the supply diminishing or about the changing nutritional value of the wheat.

Eli Rogosa and the Heritage Wheat Conservancy,which she founded is collaborating with the Northeast Organic Wheat and UMass Extension to hold a Grain Conference on July 14 and 15. The first day will be held at the University of Massachusetts farm in South Deerfield. There will be talks about grain biodiversity and culinary art; building a local grain system; and wheat sysstems for community vitality. There will be a tour of the heritage wheat trials and several afternoon sessions for growers, and for those like me who want to know more the value of these old grains.

The July 15th session will be held at Eli Rogosa’s farm in Colrain to allow more informal exchanges.

For full information about the program and registration log onto www.growseed.org. Pre-registration is suggested.

Local Farm-Hers

L-R Suzette Snow-Cobb, Caroline Pam, Sorrel Hatch, Deb Habib

We live in a fortunate part of the world. Recently my husband and I were counting our local blessings: good neighbors, relatively benign bureaucracies, easy traffic, and beautiful landscapes with hills and streams, woodlands and meadows.

Those landscapes have changed in a major but subtle way over the 30 years since we moved to Heath. The dairy farms that were here in Heath have all disappeared as have many dairy operations in other towns. A few farm stands sold sweet corn in season, but it seemed that agriculture was in decline.

Nowadays I am very aware of a resurgence of local agriculture marked by a proliferation of new small farms with farm stands, the birth of farmers markets in various towns, and programs like Farm to School that are bringing fresh healthy food to more people. At the same time the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement arrived making it easier for farmers because customers share the risks of farming.

Earlier this week I attended a presentation co-sponsored by Greenfield Community College (GCC) and the Conway School of Landscape Design titled Things Are Looking Up Down on the Farm. It was a logical collaboration because GCC is always reacting to community needs for education and training, and the Conway School curriculum looks at land use in its broadest terms which certainly includes the agriculture that keeps us fed.

This particular talk included moderator  Suzette Snow-Cobb of the Franklin County Community Cooperative, and three farm-hers Caroline Pam of The Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity Farm in Orange, and Sorrel Hatch of Upinngil Farm in Gill. Each of those farms is different and each farm-her told her story with  lively passion, enthusiasm, and honest humor about life on the farm.

Caroline Pam is the newest farmer. With her husband, Tim Wilcox, Pam has been farming here in the valley since 2005. They both spent time in Italy and she is a serious cook. The farm reflects their interests in beautiful and interesting vegetables. Their growing has another aspect. They now have a very young daughter and son.

Pam says that it is hard to separate the work they do on the farm and their life. “Farming is more a lifestyle than a job,” she said.  They were always working to maintain a balance that would allow them to make a living without burning out. They have made the decision to stay small. The Kitchen Garden is only 7 acres but they are growing the capabilities of the farm by succession planting and adding greenhouses that will extend their season.

Deb Habib and her husband Ricky Baruc were experienced farmers when they came to Orange in1996. Because they had rough recently timbered land they decided to begin with cardboard and compost. Nowadays they continue to farm with cardboard and compost, often under hoop houses to extend the season, but they also teach their techniques.  They give workshops at Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Habib also teaches at their own Seeds of Leadership (SOL) program for teens. SOL has its own garden that donates food to the low income community.. For Habib and Baruc farming is about helping to make sure everyone has access to healthy food, and building community.  Habib also said, “It is important to make room for celebration.”

Seeds of Solidarity was one of the major organizers of the now famous North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in October which brings 60 vendors of produce, local handcrafts, and good eats as well as performances on the Solar Powered Stage to Forsters Farm to thousands of people who are ready to learn and celebrate.

Sorrel Hatch is the only one of the farmers who grew up on a farm. Her father, Cliff Hatch, surprised his father and grandfather who were farmers by coming back to farming after a short time away. Hatch studied entomology at Cornell and came back to work side by side with her father and now her brother at the Upinngil Farm where I pick strawberries every year.. They maintain a small dairy herd of Ayrshire cows and sell raw milk at their Farm Store, as well as cheeses, wheat, and goodies from Hatch’s own Little Red Hen Bakery. Hatch said, “We grew the wheat, we ground it and baked it — but I did have a lot of help.”

The Farm Stand is open seasonally and the Farm Store is open every day year round. Not everything at the Store or the Farm Stand is from their farm. “Bring me stuff and I’ll sell it. I can’t grow everything so it is wonderful to have great stuff for customers from other local farms,” Hatch said.

Hatch said their wheat is certified organic, but like Pam and Habib she said the record keeping required makes it almost impossible for a multi-crop farm.  Pam also said that their farm, surrounded by conventional farms is too narrow to provide the required buffers. All agree that their customers know they farm sustainably and trust the safety of their produce.

Although each has unique aspects, these three farms are typical of many of the other small farms in the area in the sense that they not only provide good food, they add jobs, by hiring people on the farm, and by supplying new businesses like Real Pickles with what they need. What they all need is more infrastructure that will help them provide food over a longer season.

Clearly things are looking up for those of us who want to eat good, fresh local food.

Each of the farms has a handsome informative website: www.kitchengardenfarm.org; www.seedsofsolidarity.org and www.upinngil.com.

The final program of this series Farm Land: Sustaining Farms and Farm Land for the Future with Cris Coffin, New England Director, American Farmland Trust will be held on Thursday, May 19, 6:30-8 pm, Conway School of Landscape Design, 332 South Deerfield Rd, Conway, MA 01341  ###

Earth Day 2011

Greenfield Farmer's Market

On this Earth Day I don’t want to lecture about what we all should be doing to protect the environment. I want to celebrate some of the actions I know about in my community that are being done right now, many of which will grow.

I am thrilled with the school gardens that are being planted, tended and harvested. They not only supply food, but many lessons that connect with work in the classroom.  Heath school has had its garden for several years, but other schools also have gardens. I just learned that Mohawk Trail District Nutrition Director Elizabeth Buxton’s dream is for every school in the District to have its own garden. Buckland Shelburne Elementary will set up its garden on April 30.

I rejoice in the number of small farms that have started up in the last few years, making their produce available through their own farmstands, the farmer’s markets and local supermarkets.  Monday evening I am going to be at the Greenfield Community College Down Town campus at 6:30 to hear three Farm-hers, Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity in Orange, Sorrel Hatch of Upinngil Farm in Gill, and and Caroline Pam of the Kitchen Garden in Sunderland talk about their life and farms.

I give thanks that CISA (Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture) is helping farmers and helping us find more and more local food all year round.

I applaud every time I see solar panels, or windmills as I drive along my country roads.

Of course I have my own part to play. We’ve tightened the house, got a new heating system, use FCLs, carry canvas shopping bags with us, bundle our errands to save gas, grow some of our own food and we are about to plant a windbreak that will help save on our  heating bills.

What do you celebrate in your area?  Do you have an energy saving project coming up?

Leave a comment on my Give Away post and maybe you will win Starter Vegetable Gardens. Deadline is midnight tonight.

The Grange – Then and Now

Sawyer Hall - Heath

Sawyer Hall is our Heath Post Office, Police Office, and Town Library with Town Offices for  the Selectbord, Administrator, Tax Collector, Assessors, etc. upstairs, but  for for many years a good portion of Sawyer Hall was used by the Grange for suppers, and even for dramatic productions.  I remember when we moved here in 1979 the Library was closed because the building was being renovated.  Someone gave me a tour of the large open upstairs where a small raised platform acted as a stage was set in  the ‘bay windows,’  and a Glenbrook wood burning parlor stove was placed on another wall.

I could picture Grange suppers serving all kinds of wonderful home grown and home cooked meals, but I couldn’t imagine what kind of plays were were put on UNTIL one of Heath’s Great Ladies gave me a box of plays and books of recitations.  The plays were mimeographed  and  given a green paper cover. One marked Very Good is Holloway’s Hired Hand – a play in one act by Earlene Day Benson of Groton, NY. It won First Prize in the New York State Plays Project in 1952 and was distributed for .35 a copy through the American Agriculturist Magazine.

As a community event the Friends of Library once put on a reading of this play which got a lot of laughs.  Harry Holloway is a farmer whose hired hand has just quit, Laura is his wife, Jim is the ex-hired hand and Jerry is the new hired hand. Lovesickness is the cause of the hired hand’s leaving, but before the  curtain falls the new hand Jerry, is revealed to be none other than a ‘college girl’ and the object of Jim’s affections who wanted experience on a farm. It all ends happily, of course, because the point of these plays was to encourage farmers.

The Grange was disbanded in Heath as in so many rural towns because the number of farms dwindled so. But out in Corvallis, Oregon, as perhaps in other places, the Grange is enjoying a resurgence as new young farmers meet over delicious Grange dinners for advice,  information and encouragement from the old timers.  How do I know this? I read all about it in the New York Times yesterday,  New Food Culture A Young Generation of Farmers Emerges.  A new generation of enthusiastic foodies can take credit for helping revive The Grange.

Winterfare and Ice

4th Annual Greenfield Winterfare

Saturday dawn cold with another storm promised. I dashed right out to the Greenfield Winterfare to stock up, and I wasn’t the only one. Every booth was busy. These young women from Wheatberry Farm and Bakery were selling the wheatberries AND delicious muffins. Ben and Adrie Lester, the founders of Wheatberry are also founders of The Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA.

Simple Gifts Farm

At the Simple Gifts booth I bought lots of roots – and make a shredded vegetable slaw when I got home. Perfect accompaniment to casserole roasted pork. Brooke Werley and Emily Adams say they do everything!  at the farm. They have a brand new tractor at Simple Gifts and they are very excited.

Sunrise Farm

I not only found the Grade A Medium Amber Maple Syrup I had been looking for I found out that the sugar house I pass when I drive from Heath to Colrain is called Sunrise Farm and is operated by a branch of the locally famous Lively family. It is wonderful to have so much Lively-ness in our area. Rocky’s family has been on this farm for over 100 years.

Most of these farms are already signing people up for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares. For a full list of CSA farms visit CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.

One thing I have noticed is that there are more farms selling meat locally. I am buying lamb from a neighbor, and I found out that the new Pen and Plow Farm in Hawley is selling beef – and it doesn’t have to be a whole quarter of an animal.  Hmmmm. Oxtail soup and osso bucco may be in my husband’s future.

I stopped at the library on my way home from Winterfare, but a ‘wintry mix’ was already falling out of the sky.  By suppertime everything was encased in ice. This is the view when we woke on Sunday morning. Beautiful but dangerous.

No lounging in the Cottage Ornee today.

Maybe I’ll be able to finish up my seed orders.

Winterfares Coming Up

Winterfare Northampton 2010

Have you been longing for fresh greens and the chance to meet the farmers in our area?  Long no more. It is time for Winterfares!  This Saturday the winter farmer’s market will be held at the Smith Vocational School in Northampton on January 15 from 10 am to 2 pm.  Fresh greens, apples, honey, yogurt, root veggies, local grain, bread, the Soup Cafe (bring your own cup) and workshops.  This is a delicious and healthy event – pure delight.  Don’t forget to bring your own shopping bags.

Also, mark your calendars for the 4th Annual Winterfare at Greenfield High School on Saturday, February 5, again from 10 am – 2pm.  More fresh food, more workshops, more fun.

Cindy’s Mosaics

Shelburne Mosaic

Saturday was a big day in Shelburne Falls, home of the Bridge of Flowers. There had been events at the Buckland Shelburne Community Hall for Cider Day but there was also a dedication of the 12 vitreous glass mosaics created by Cynthia Fisher of Big Bang Mosaics in cooperation with students from the elementary and high schools, as well as members of the community. Ten of the 3 x 3 foot mosaics depict iconographic aspects of the ten towns in our area. Two slightly larger mosaics honor the Native Americans who lived here, and the Deerfield River which tumbles over Salmon Falls in the middle of the town.

Cindy and Jayden of BSE school

Three towns supplied the full amount of requested funding and so as the students worked on the main mosaic they  also made a smaller one that will remain in the school. The Buckland Shelburne School was presented with their mosaic at the dedication. The sturdy frames that hold the mosaics were designed and fabricated by the students at Franklin Technical High School.

Ideas for each mosaic were generated by the third graders in each town. With students’ help Cindy drew the template and then older students during art classses cut (nipped) the glass tiles and glued them in place.  Heath is famous for its lowbush blueberries, the acres of sunflowers being grown for fuel to run farm machinery, historic farms, and, of course, the Heath Fair. We have a drawerful of Heath Fair t-shirts, a different design each year.

You can see all the mosaics, and learn more about the project by clicking here.

That’s my Three for Thursday.  Check out Cindy MCOK at My Corner of Katy and see what other trios abound.

Local Queens – Bees, that is

Dan L. Perlman/Ecolibrary.org photo

The honeybee hive is an amazing community. Most of the population, about 99%, are worker bees who are all female. They have many jobs to do from cleaning the hive, building honeycomb, feeding the larvae and foraging for nectar and pollen. Some will live only a few weeks, others will live several months to carry the hive through the winter until spring allows bees to forage once again.

There are a few drones, male bees, whose sole purpose is to mate with the queen bee on her single flight outside the hive.

And, of course, there is the queen bee. All bees get a ration of the amazing bee food, royal jelly, made by the nurse worker bees, but a queen bee is created by being fed only royal jelly during her entire larval life stage. The worker bees can sense when a queen’s vitality may be waning. After laying as many as 3,000 eggsa day for five years or so, the queen can understandably be getting tired. Knowing they need a vital queen, the workers will start feeding several larval cells with royal jelly. The first queen to emerge will then kill the other queen larva in their cells, and go on to reign.  Or, it may actually come to a battle between new queens.

I knew these basic facts about bees because many years ago we attended workshops given by the Franklin County Beekeeper’s Association before we set up our first bee hives. However, I never gave much thought to the breeding of bees, or to the necessity of queen bee production for new bee keepers.

Dan Conlon

When I met with Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary in Deerfield recently, I was amazed to find that an important part of his business is the production of queen bees. And not only queen bees, but Russian queens.

Russian queens sound very exotic, but Conlon explained that the practical interest in, and need for Russian queens is in the  kind of bees they will create. About 16 years ago the first USDA researcher started negotiating with Russia to acquire some of their disease resistant bees from the far eastern regions.

When my husband and I started with bees we were given all kinds of information about medicating our bees to protect them from varroa mites which can dangerously weaken a hive. Russian bees do have mites, but somehow those bees have learned to groom each other to remove the mites, and so do not need medication, which can bring its own problems.

Dan Conlon attended a bee convention about ten years ago and heard one California bee scientist, Tom Glenn, tell how he had stopped using  chemicals and found it did not negatively affect his hives.  “We already knew the chemicals weren’t working, and we weren’t making any gains. So we (Warm Colors Apiary) went cold turkey. We used no treatments – and lost fewer bees than we did while using medication. Tom told us we could, and it was true. This experiment required no expense, and we didn’t have to worry about the quality of our honey,” Conlon said.

Conlon now raises Russian queens that he sells to beekeepers who want to go back to older, organic ways of working with bees. His own breeding practices involve watching for the most docile queens to breed the gentlest next generation of queens. He explained that the many many Texas bee producers have gone out of business because their bees have become Africanized, and are too aggressive. Russian queens are gentle, and disease resistant. The bees he raises are also acclimatized to our weather, giving beekeepers greater probability of success.

Conlon said one of his goals is to educate people about bees. Many school groups from Williston, Smith College and Umass, come to visit. “Second grade teachers seem to be doing a really good job of teaching about bees,” Conlon said. “The more removed we are from bees, and other insects critical to our survival, the more important it is to learn about them in school.”

More than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops depend on pollination by honey bees. And that is just in the United States.  If it were not for bees we humans would find it very difficult to find enough to eat.

Dan Conlon and his wife Bonita, will hold their annual Honeybee Festival today, Saturday, June 11, from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the apiary on South Mill Road in Deerfield. . There will be bee talks and demonstrations all day, a great time to get your questions about bees answered while you enjoy honey ice cream, mead, and honey snacks.  Warm Colors Apiary will be selling be products from honey to beeswax candles. There is no charge for this event which will intrigue every member of the family. Conlon says the bees are always well behaved.

Russian Queen Bee Yard at Warm Colors Apiary

Conlon also gives workshops for those who are considering keeping bees. He said there are more and more teams signing up for these classes, fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters. Classes begin in late winter and continue through the honey season. Logon to www.warmcolorsapiary.com for more information about classes and other bee resources.

Beetween the Rows  September 11, 2010

The Sweetness of Honey

Warm Colors Apiary, Deerfield

Dan Conlon, co-owner with his wife Bonita of Warm Colors Apiary, President of both the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association and the Franklin County Beekeepers Association, began keeping bees when he was 14 years old. He lived at the edge of a Dayton, Ohio suburb, close enough to farmlands that he got a summer job helping a farmer with haying and whatever needed to be done.

“The farmer kept a few beehives, because many farmers did at that time, knowing how important good pollination was to the success of their crops. When he saw that I liked working with the bees I took on those chores, too.  I set up two hives of my own at home and I have hardly been without bees since then, sometimes just a couple of hives, sometimes 100,” Conlon said.

Conlon told me that his mother said beekeeping is the only thing he ever stuck with. He’s done many things in his life including playing in a band named Warm Colors and teaching at Mt. Hermon, but these days he tends between 500 to 900 hives throughout Massachusetts and even a few in New York State.

Dan Conlon

“Looking back, I think that farmer was an excellent beekeeper. No one used chemicals then and the things he taught me hold up today.  All the farmers that I knew are gone, but they molded my ideas about land preservation. That was the best farmland in the world, and now it’s all covered,” he said.

The day I visited the sun was hot and I could see Conlon’s bees flying around, probably foraging in the field of goldenrod beyond the bee yard. Conlon said this year was a better year for the bees than last year when it was so cold and wet. “That whole year was about keeping the bees from starving. I literally used a ton of organic sugar to keep my hives fed.”

Many of Conlon’s hives are spread throughout the Connecticut River Valley for the season, beginning with apple pollination time in the spring. “This year there was a good honey run in May and June, but then it got dry. The goldenrod began blooming but there was no nectar until the rains the last week in August got it jump started.”

With all the talk about starving bees I asked Conlon about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that had gotten so much press a year or two ago. He said, “CCD is not an issue so much in our area, partly because western Mass lives in some isolation as far as the bees are concerned. My bee hives don’t travel much more than 30 or 40 miles twice a season for pollinating. That reduces the stress on the hives.

“Beekeepers in the west have the most trouble because they use migratory beekeepers who bring hundreds of hives to fields around the country for pollination. The bees mix with bees from other places that might have diseases.” Conlon explained there isn’t enough business for those migratory operations to come to our area.

In addition to the stress the migratory bees suffer, and the easy spreading of disease, those bees can also starve to death because their winter or spring feedings use corn syrup.

It turns out that corn syrup is just as bad for bees as it is for humans. Beekeepers routinely feed sugar syrup to bees during the winter and very early spring if they see that honey supplies in the hive are low.  Cane sugar is pure sucrose, and the nectar that honeybees gather is principally sucrose so bees process it just as they do nectar.

Corn syrup, as we all know, is cheaper than sugar which is why it is used in so many of our processed foods and soft drinks. High fructose corn syrup is also cheap for those large bee companies to use, but the bees do not find it as delicious as sucrose. Aside from their taste preferences, corn syrup is a problem for bees because it crystallizes in the hive and becomes so hard that the bees cannot eat it.

Conlon thinks these are some of the  reasons for CCD that do not apply to our part of the world.  He says the good thing about CCD and all the publicity it generated is that it prompted the USDA to increase research funding that had been dropping off.

Next week I’ll talk about Conlon’s Russian queen bee breeding, and new approaches to bee management in our area.

Those interested in learning about bees will enjoy the Annual Honeybee Festival from 10 am to 4pm on Saturday, September 11 at Warm Colors Apiary on South Mill Road in Deerfield.  Conlon says the bees always behave very well. There will be something for everyone including bee talks and demonstrations throughout the day, honey ice cream, samples of mead (a honey wine) provided by Green River Ambrosia, cooking demonstrations by Brandy Parker of Heirloom Catering and more. Of course, honey and honey products like bee pollen and beautiful beeswax candles will be on sale. This is a great family event. You can stop in for an hour or stay all day. There is no charge.

Between the Rows   September 4, 2010