The Apiary is located on an agricultural Native Hawaiian plant Nursery site in Kula Maui. The bees were gifted some years ago from a farm in Kipahulu and have reacquainted themselves to their new home. We instantly became friends. Eventually their hives grew and later wild swarms began arriving. We planted a garden with sunflowers, basil, taro, mango, chards, beans and beets, which proved to please their palate. The combs began to swell as the lehua and lilikoi blossomed. We decided it was time to harvest the honey. To harvest, first, we smoke the entry and pop the top with a resinous smack. Slowly the lid is removed to expose the frames of golden goodness.
The bees are disoriented but not threatened as the smoke interrupts their movements to communicate. Only when you smell banana do you know the bees are disgruntled and will pelt at your bee suit in a pheromone-induced fury. This is when the bee suit is an armor one hopes holds up.
One by one the frames are slowly removed and placed in a cooler for a sealed transport to the Honey House. There, the frames are capped with a hot knife and placed in the centrifuge. The smell of warm honey permeates the air and bees start swarming the open windows. Some bees get caught in the transport and are casualties to their hive… loaded guns for the ungloved hand.
The Honey is spun by hand, and the honey strings hit the sides where it slowly collects at the bottom.Extra wax is scraped from the frames and saved for herbal salves and our Cocoa Body Butter. The frames are carefully replaced in the bee boxes and the honey is jarred for future use.
This is how our honey is processed, from farm to face, my friends.