Beekeeping Class at UNF Co-Op

Carson is collaborating with the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op to teach a series on beekeeping. Join us for Part I on Wednesday, August 16 at 6 pm. In this first class, Carson will provide a general introduction to beekeeping with plenty of time for Q&A. Subsequent classes will deal with timely issues: the winter class will explain how to start and care for a new hive, and the spring and summer classes will cover pest management, hive nutrition, and honey extraction.

Tickets are $5 for Co-Op members, $10 for non members: click here for tickets and more information.

Carson smoker

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Good Farm Fund Keeps it Real

GFF dinnerCarson and Bees was proud to participate in the 3rd Annual Farm to Table Benefit Dinner at Yokayo Ranch on June 13. Elizabeth partnered with Cerro Negro Strawberries and the Mendocino Grain Project to make strawberry shortcake (soaked in honey, of course). She was one of about two dozen chefs paired with local food producers, and the food was out of this world.

The event raised $9,000, which will help local farmers with small grants like the one Carson and Bees received earlier this year. It will also help fund the Farmers Market EBT/Food Stamp Match program, which helps farmers and low-income community members alike. Win-win!

To learn more about the Good Farm Fund (the fundraiser dinners are extraordinary and happen three times a year), visit http://www.goodfarmfund.org.

Good Farm Fund 2017 Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Shortcake Biscuits

  • 2 cups Mendocino Grain Sonora flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, cold
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in butter. Gradually stir in milk until a soft dough forms.
  2. Drop spoonfuls of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Filling

  • 1 pound Cerro Negro strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Carson and Bees honey
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  1. Wash, de-stem, and slice strawberries.
  2. Mix water and honey to form a thick slurry.
  3. Pour over strawberries, cover, & refrigerate for up to 24 hours; stir occasionally.
  4. Serve with biscuits and whipped cream. Enjoy!

It’s that almond time of year

If you drive through California’s central valley in the next month, you will see and smell the incredible expanses of almond blooms. Carson & Bees is pollinating orchards in Williams, which helps the business and also helps the hives bulk up for the coming spring and summer honey-making season.

Here’s a funny and  timely article about the different pronunciations of California’s favorite nut: http://kvpr.org/post/i-say-almond-you-say-am-end-whos-right

2017 almonds
Carson, just after unloading hives into the not-yet-blooming almond orchards

Carson & Bees receives Good Farm Fund grant

We are honored to announce that we are the proud recipients of a 2017 Good Farm Fund grant! We applied for and received funds to help us expand our business this year by buying new frames – this will enable us fill the empty boxes we own with bees to create new hives.

The Good Farm Fund, a project of North Coast Opportunities, is doing incredible work in the Lake and Mendocino County communities. They also throw excellent fundraiser dinners twice a year – once near Christmas and again in June – which are well worth attending.

You can learn more about the GFF here: http://www.goodfarmfund.org/

2017 bee frames
That’s a lot of bee frames! We bought them during a 40% off sale, which increased the grant’s impact on our business even more.

Honey adulteration

We get a lot of questions about the quality of honey sold in grocery stores, and also people wondering why we charge so much more than what you can buy in a store. Here’s an interesting article on honey adulteration to answer some of those common questions:

https://steptohealth.com/honey-pure-adulterated/

It’s also worth noting that California honey tends to be more expensive than other regions of the country since we get so little rain in late spring and summer. Rain = flower nectar = honey production.

Carson & Bees adds two new members to the family

Hello! Since last we wrote, Carson and Elizabeth got married (September 18, so lovely) and bought a house in Ukiah (woo!) which we’re remodeling. Most notably for the business, we recently expanded Carson & Bees with Beasty and Turbo.

Carson purchased Beasty at auction in April, an F-550 diesel truck that he converted to a flatbed this summer. He is one handy man.

If Beasty is the curmudgeonly uncle of the team, Turbo is the snappy new fella. He is a Hummerbee “Turbo Standard” forklift, also diesel, a specialty piece of machinery specifically designed for driving pallets of bees through almond and fruit orchards. Together they’re quite a pair, and perfectly compliment their skilled leader!

We’ve been at the Ukiah Farmers Market almost every week, so come say hello any Saturday from 9-12 if you’re in the area. It’s actually a pretty impressive winter market – even in January and February we’re getting all of our produce there, plus cheese, meat, prepared food, cool crafts, and consistently good live music!

Carson and Bees takes the CalFresh Challenge

When I’m not helping Carson run the “family business,” I work as the Community Outreach Coordinator at North Coast Opportunities in Ukiah. This week Carson and I are tackling the CalFresh Challenge, in which participants must eat for only $5 per person, per day, for five days. Follow along with us via a daily journal about the experience, which you can find here: Calfresh Challenge Journal.

Thanks for the support!

~Elizabeth

market bounty
What $30 at the farmers market gets you.

General Mills and the “Bee Friendlier” campaign

Cascadian Farms is the organic branch of General Mills, which represents 3% of the company’s total sales. Although as a major food producer General Mills uses a lot of pesticide – which has been directly linked to declining pollinator populations – a new campaign started by the Cascadian Farm branch called “Bee Friendlier” is an encouraging step in the right direction.

Although the #1 thing you can do to help pollinators is plant flowers, they have to be organic! These days most everything is treated – often at the seed level – with pesticide. The pollen the bees gather is poisoned by the pesticide the plant’s seed was rolled in (or sprayed in the large warehouse nursery where it was born). The only surefire way to help and not further hinder pollinators is to plant seeds whose packaging clearly states that zero treatment has been applied.

It’s easy to demonize companies like General Mills for being huge food conglomerates that use pesticides, pay low wages, and destroy the land. But GM and companies like it are products of society, and they directly reflect consumer’s demands: Americans want abundant and cheap food, so the current food system is built accordingly. Now, however, we’re taking a collective pause to reexamine the implications of valuing cost over everything else, and there’s a slow but steady sea change happening.

This “bee friendlier” campaign is a part of that sea change. And so are we! Each of us decides what the system looks like based on where we spend our money. In Ukiah we’re blessed with a year-round farmers’ market, a socially conscious co-op, and a Friedman’s that carries organic seeds. If you could spend 10% of your food budget on local producers, plus a few dollars a year to plant organic flower seeds, you’ll make a bigger impact than you realize on the food system AND the health of your friendly backyard pollinators.