That’s not my hand holding a drone bee at Marshall’s Farm. It’s the skilled hand of chef and beekeeper James Barrett. I don’t think you’d ever call me a coward but I typically don’t go around handling bees. And really… what’s so scary about a few bees? Bees make honey and I love the sweet, sticky stuff. This field trip with the National Honey Board as part of Honey 101 at The Culinary Institute of America, allows me to relax and enjoy the buzz.
Spencer Marshall the chief beekeeper at Marshall’s Farm uses smoke to calm the bees for easier handling. When the bees smell the smoke, they tuck their heads inside of the comb and are less likely to sting. Not that Spencer seems too worried about a sting; no protective clothing for him.
With the assistance of an intern, we gather around to get a closer look at “the girls,” as Spencer calls them. Although drones are male honey bees, they develop from eggs that have not been fertilized. Drones cannot sting, because their stinger is a modified ovipositor, an egg laying organ.
Did you know that honey is the only food consumed by humans produced by an insect? Bees flap their 4 wings about 11,000 times a minute, averaging speeds of 15 miles per hour. And it’s a good thing they are so speedy, honey bees must visit about two million flowers to generate a mere pound of honey.
Marshall’s Farm transports hives from field to field as crops needs pollinating, thus producing several varieties of honey. All of their honey is raw, 100% pure, unfiltered and certified Kosher. Natural pollens float in the various varietals because Marshall’s Farm uses no filters when extracting and hand-bottling their pure local honeys.
Read more about my journey to Napa with the National Honey Board here. More to come…