Extracting Honey at Brookfield Farm 2014

The last post was about harvesting honey, so what else could follow but one about honey extraction at Brookfield Farm?  There’s not really much to say other than : Decap Honey (still with a hot knife), Put honey in extractor, fill buckets, clean room.

Thus is this more of a photo essay:

My extraction room is small: 8 foot by 8 foot, with a second room beyond, which got turned into the new water pressure tank room!

The Honey Extraction Room

Boxes of Honey stacked for extraction

Honey Stacked for extraction

 

You can just see the motor of the extractor on the left.

Extraction Room at Brookfield Farm

Extraction Room View Two

 

 Honey Before and After the Decapping Knife

This year’s honey:

Frame of Capped Honey

Honey Frame Before Uncapping

 

Turns out it’s quite light – they found the thistle and fireweed.
I’m still using an uncapping knife.  Next year I’m testing a new tool.

Raw Honey in Frame : uncapped

It’s a Light Honey Year – lots of thistle and fireweed

 

 The Honey Extraction Process – at Brookfield Farm

Once uncapped; it’s into the extractor.  I have a Maxant 20 frame Extractor – and I love it.

ExtractorLoading

 

Honey Extractor (centrifuge) loaded with frames of honey

Loaded and Ready to Spin

 

Honey frames spin in a honey extractor

Extractor Spinning (don’t open spinning extractors, it’s dangerous)

 

My husband, the woodworker, built me the extraction stand.

Small but serviceable Honey Extraction Room

Waiting On the Extractor

 

The wonderful thing is that it tilts. The out-flow on the extractor does not allow all the honey to flow out, so to get all the honey, it must tilt.

Maxant 20 Frame Honey Extractor on Brookfield Farm Tilting Stand

Going For The Last Drop

 

How it sets on the stand:

Details of woodworker Ian Balsillie's tilting honey-extractor stand

The Details

 

But it does need the “high tech” shim to keep the extractor from turning in the wooden collar that holds the extractor

Shim in place on honey extractor stand

The all important extractor stand shim

 

 Participating in a Honey Authentication Protocol Study

While extracting, I cut two samples of from honey comb for a research study that University of California, Davis, is doing in conjunction with the US Food and Drug Association (FDA).  I did use frames which were being decommissioned, having served their 5-years in my hives.

Honey frame sampled for honey study

Sampled area : cut from older honey frame

 

The study is “aimed at identifying honeys made by bees that have been fed a sugar source other than natural flower nectars.”  The study aims to develop “standardized methods and protocols for authentication of honeys,” writes Amina Harris, Director, Honey and Pollination Center,Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science,UC Davis.

Cut comb honey - sample for UC Davis honey study

Honey Sample for UC Davis

A good protocol is greatly  needed in the US, in my humble opinion.  Too much  “honey” bought in many US stores is not honey, but rather a substance created by bees who are given non-nectar sugars (cane, beet, corn syrup….).

 

Fall Hike With Pack Goats

Once done with extraction – a small vacation was needed.  The packgoats, my husband, our small dog, and I took off over the high Cascade Mountains for a 5 day walk.  I’ll write more about “what I did on my fall vacation” later in the depths of winter, but here’s two pictures of the “boys” on our journey:

Pack Goats in Northwest Washington State

A fun walk – For a Pack Goat

 

Only the big goat wears a pack.  He is an Oberhasli  – he’s the only one old enough to carry a pack (3 years).  The other two are a 1.5 year old boer goat X cashmere, and a 6 month old cashmere.   2 Plugs here:  the Northwest Cashmere Goat Association and the Northwest Pack Goat Association are both worth checking out if you like goats, and – if you hike – especially pack goats (none of us are getting any younger).  Pack goats are great – small enough to fit in a pick up, able to walk nearly any terrain, and obey quite like a dog – you do have to train them.

 

Pacific Northwest Mountain Pond with Pack goats

Pack Goats relax without packs

 

Tiberius, the big goat, in the above image is wearing a rain coat.  He’s the Oberhasli and doesn’t have a thick coat like Speedy – Speedwell Thyme is his whole name – (the small cashmere X boer goat). Tibo’s also has to wear his red raincoat because this is hunting season here – and so some hunters he looks like a deer.

That’s the news from Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey, Maple Falls, Washington.  We’ve dropped into a long-lasting rain storm here – the arrival of fall in the Pacific Northwest.  Must not grumble though – east of the Cascades has has one of the worst drought/fire seasons in years.

About Bean

I am the beekeeper at Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey, near Maple Falls, Washington. My bees fly from naturally treated, antibiotic-free hives in the foothills of Mt. Baker (the second most glaciated volcano in Washington). I sell the raw honey my bees make, as well as honey produced by Washington beekeepers who are friends - the emphasis is on raw honey from naturally treated, antibiotic-free hives. I also make and sell Raw Honey Infusions (Ginger, Lavender, and Vanilla Bean; Raw Honey Infused Organic Vinegars; and Beeswas Salves. You can find me or my husband at Seattle's Fremont Market and at Bellingham's Farmers Market. When not with the bees, you'll most likely meet me up some mountain trail, pinhole camera and digital camera slung over my shoulders, and my pack goats trailing behind me.
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