View Full Version : New member - Beekeeper with honey surplus

05-31-2010, 11:37 PM
Hello all,

I hope I am posting this in the right place.

I just wanted to say hello and tell you a little about myself.

First, I'm located in the deep south - Birmingham, AL, USA. Locally I would be jokingly referred to as a 'damned Yankee' -- that is, a northerner who came to the south -- and stayed.

Second, I am a former homebrewer that capable of mashing, kegging, culturing yeast, etc. But, I haven't brewed a batch in at least 13 years... So, I have some knowledge, experience, rusty skills and even residual equipment.

Third, I am a 3rd year hobbyist beekeeper interested in healthy beekeeping practices that has produced a modest honey surplus already this year (~150 lbs of light golden spring wildflower honey), with as much or more honey on the hives yet to be harvested. :o

My modest little beekeeping operation is just starting to hit its stride. Last year I gifted away my surplus to family and friends. This year, I am suddenly at risk of becoming the victim of my own success, so I need to find something else to do with my sweet treasure.

I suspect we all know what comes next. But from past experience, I know that my modest available time and best efforts to consume won't put a significant dent in my supply. Problems, problems.... :rolleyes:


05-31-2010, 11:41 PM
Are you looking for ideas or buyers (or new family members :) )

06-01-2010, 01:31 AM
If you want to come over and share your bounty and experience, that would certainly be an act of friendship. I might even consider adopting you. ;D

Otherwise, I would be willing to make a small @ of deals, in a quantity consistent with my harvested supply that preferably keeps my labor to a minimum. This is strictly a hobby for me, not a profitable business. That said, I believe I have a quality locally produced product of known origin and wouldn't mind defraying my expenses (mostly so I can feel good about spending more on my hobbies ;D).

I've currently got a 4-5 10 lb containers and 90+ 1-lb containers with drip-less lids already bottled. I've got some empty 3 lb jars ready to go.

My next harvest will likely be within the month. If you want to get specific just PM me.


06-01-2010, 09:10 AM
Welcome to Got Mead, and I just have to say that you've a "problem" that many of us here would love to have. :)

Medsen Fey
06-01-2010, 12:22 PM
Welcome to GotMead BamaBeek!

First, I'm located in the deep south - Birmingham, AL, USA. Locally I would be jokingly referred to as a 'damned Yankee' -- that is, a northerner who came to the south -- and stayed.

Well bless yore heart. Where I come from, folks wouldn't call you such rude things. A person with all that fine honey (and perhaps a few cases of delicious mead) would be welcomed into the community club, and invited to the Friday fish fry. The ladies would probably even give you a nickname like "Ol' Honey Bags" so that you wouldn't feel like a carpet bagger. It's amazing how much love you can buy with a little honey (and plenty of mead). ;D

06-01-2010, 12:48 PM
Thanks for the welcome wildoats & Medsen_Fey!

I figured that some of the Got Mead faithful might be willing to help me out, and at least one has already contacted me. I'll find ways to consume more and keep gifting small quantities, but at some point it gets a little ridiculous. So then I need to consider selling or maybe even donating to a non-profit food related agency to obtain some tax advantage.

Mead, well, that will clearly take some time but I'm working on it.


06-01-2010, 01:54 PM
I just paid $15 for a pound and a half of the most delightful San Benito Gold wildflower honey from this spring's run in the San Juan Valley near Hollister, CA. It's gorgeous and very nice tasting. I was driving home from my family reunion, saw a sign, and pulled over. Talked to the fella and he was VERY interested in mead--he'd never heard of it. He has 100 hives and gets about 1000 pounds a year out of them.

So while giving it away for a tax deduction might be good, selling it to people who appreciate quality honey and are willing to pay a fair price for it might be a lot better, especially for mead makers who are always looking for some good honey, and by that I mean fresh, flavorful, and as unprocessed as possible.

06-01-2010, 03:05 PM
Ha! the only real problem is that BamaBeek lives in the wrong Birmingham. If he was in the right one, I could park my truck (T&T combo) and hook up - it's just a matter of the 3000+ miles.........

Ah well, maybe next time eh!



p.s. and Welcome BamaBeek to "mead central"..... :cool:

06-01-2010, 07:45 PM
Well, I'm all for supporting the mead-making community, and would not object to defraying the not inconsequential costs of my hobby. But my darling wife is always advocating socially conscious 8) and low effort ways to help the local community - non-profits, CSA's, etc.

I'm definitely into the minimal processing / raw aspect - I clear the bees and pull the frames from the honey 'supers', my wife uncaps and loads the 9 frame stainless steel radial centrifuge, I crank the centrifuge, we strain the wax capping bits out, bulk bottle, let settle a while to let the bubbles rise and smallest wax 'dust' settle. After that, we bottle to size. No heating/pasteurizing, micro-filtering, excessive exposure to oxygen/humidity, additives or other processing is involved. And it will be fresh as long as I don't have to stockpile it. I hadn't previously considered it, but I do have enough freezer space to accommodate that as well.

1000 lbs from 100 hives sounds very low - I pulled 150 lbs from 2-3 rocking hives on the early spring flow (a number of other hives produced nothing), and am well on the way to having 7 of my 8 planned hives in strong working order. Being in California, its possible he's mostly in it selling contract pollination services.

06-01-2010, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the welcome fatbloke, I often get that question from my international colleagues and contacts. In the US they think of Birmingham, Alabama, but the rest of the world definitely assumes that Birmingham is in the UK.

06-02-2010, 06:37 PM
Thanks for the welcome fatbloke, I often get that question from my international colleagues and contacts. In the US they think of Birmingham, Alabama, but the rest of the world definitely assumes that Birmingham is in the UK.
Well I suppose it's not "wrong" per se, just that we had ours first, so maybe it should be Birmingham Mk2 ;D

Heard good things of the Mk2 location and I'd bet that it'd still be easier to understand the good people of Mk2 than it is in some places in Mk1 - Our "Brummies" have a very, very, distinct accent - that occasionally is rather hard to follow......8)

Good on you with the honey though. Round here, it'd be a PITA, especially at this time of year. There's far too much oil seed rape in flower and OSR honey has a habit of crystalising in the frame if the bee keeper isn't prompt with the removal.



06-02-2010, 10:54 PM
OK, I was asked a good question and thought I would share the response:

Ok BamaBeek,
Can you tell me the color of the honey?
Is it early spring honey?
Is the flavor strong, medium, or slight?
I need to start thing about a recipe.
It is wildflower honey right?

I am working on getting some pics up in PhotoBucket that I can reference, but real quick I made my avatar pic of a lb of honey that I held up to the sun and snapped with my cell phone.

Color: Very pale gold, this is the earliest and biggest batch I have harvested to date.

Nectar Collection: Beginning of April to mid-May 2010, Collection was from the very start of our nectar flow to about the end of the blackberry bloom. Wildflower for sure - there were definitely a lot of different things that were blooming over that 6 weeks of strong nectar flow.

Location: I live in a secluded wooded compound in a 'holler between two Appalachian ridge lines, very close to the Cahaba River valley. I currently have about a 1/4 million+ bees in 8 hives. Foragers appear to prefer to fly 150' up to the treeline and then head up to 2m out to harvest the best source they can find. They don't file flight plans with me, and I'm just not any good at interpreting the bee dances on direction/distance/nectar source quality.

They rarely work anything in the yard and I have lots of stuff planted. But I can sure tell when they are packing in the nectar!

Flavor/Aroma: OK now you have me wondering. I'm sitting here doing a little smell and taste test and it is distinctly different than the stack of other darker local honeys I have sitting in front of me (mine and others). More delicate and flowery/fruity/zingy in my opinion. I may need to recruit a honey tester to help me with the flowery descriptions. I'm good with beer and home brews, but am struggling with the honey's.


06-03-2010, 12:16 AM
Testing images from Picassa Web Albums:

Cahaba River Honey - The Apiary

Some quickie shots off my cell phone, promise to use the 'real' camera next time.

Early Spring 2010 Harvest - A light Wildflower Honey

Early Spring 2010 Harvest - 1 lb bottles

Early Spring 2010 Harvest - 10 lb bottles

06-03-2010, 01:42 AM
Yummm fresh honey.
All I can say, us beekeepers in the northwest will be lucky to see a drop of honey, the way this year is going so far >:(

Nothing like feeding bees the whole month of May..:o

06-03-2010, 09:30 PM

Mighty fine looking honey.

06-04-2010, 11:13 PM
>> Nothing like feeding bees the whole month of May..

Now that would be a BAD thing around these parts. I've migrated everything from single to to double deeps this spring and run Italians which start with a bang. With a good flow so far I am hoping to not have to feed at all in the fall.

My goal for next year is to enter spring with 8 raging strong hives and some nucs with spare queens. I'm experimenting with 4 new VSH queens that just showed up.

I pulled 8 frames for a 4-way queen castle this evening and hive #4 has an easy 100 lbs on it, maybe more. :eek: Keep in mind i extracted mid May. I will probably have to start extracting next weekend or order more supers.


06-05-2010, 12:37 AM
This is one of the worst springs on record. We have not been above 75 degrees. Plus no more then 1 sunny day at a time. ugggg
PLUS the blackberries are starting there bloom. It needs to warm up this is the last chance for a honey crop of any kind.

Ahhh winter nucs. Every year I winter over more nucs then the year before. It rules. You can't tell the differencs from a winter nuc from a whole hive by around April in this area.. Althoug it is a bit tricky to learn how to winter them.

06-05-2010, 02:23 PM
I feel your pain about the weather. Eugene has also been cool. I think we hit 70 once but that was over a month ago.
My beekeeper friends are not happy. They have had to feed their hives.:(

06-08-2010, 04:22 PM
Same thing up here in WA. My wife has been giving the bees a gallon of syrup every other day to keep them happy. The weather this year has been total BS.

They'll stop taking the syrup when they're harvesting enough nectar on their own, right?

06-08-2010, 04:31 PM
sorry for our weather high-jack of your post,
I am excited to get your honey. Now what do I make with it?

06-08-2010, 05:28 PM
@icedmetal: I tried to feed a swarm I caught (one of my own) earlier when the flow was going and they would only take it on the rainy days. I ended up dumping most of it out and they took off strong on their own.

I think we have been getting really good weather here - regular rains with lots of sunny days. It seems like there are new things blooming every week. I'm just starting the idea of creating a photo-library/calendar of all the different things in bloom by bloom start date.

@Johanneskai: I don't have any mead making experience [yet], but I do have a quart bag of frozen locally picked blueberries I have been hoarding. I'm waiting for my own tiny blueberry crop to mature. We also get wild blackberries locally and I'm sure they will hit the fermenter when they ripen. Later in the year I might have Muscadine grapes, but mostly I still have fairly young vines (1-3years) so I don't have big hopes on the harvest. Other ideas are to play with spices, and maybe dry-hopping for aroma.

06-08-2010, 05:37 PM
Saturday, I plan to do another round of honey harvesting. This seems a little crazy as I think my last harvest was only 4 weeks earlier, but I am pretty sure a couple of those hives are already getting honey-bound and I am out of available honey supers!!!

I'm hoping for 200 lbs this time around, but we shall see. Its hard to know without a frame-by-frame inspection how many harvest-able honey frames I have (ripe, no eggs/brood, etc).

The good news is that my first round of new mead-making supplies have arrived. The bad news is that I haven't had time to even open the boxes.