Four hives and five months ago, The FruitGuys brought forth to Gabriel Farm a prodigious gift of pollination, conceived in the spirit of Farm Stewardship and dedicated to the proposition that all fruits must be fertilized equally or an orchard cannot endure. Dedicated though we are to the ideals of supporting sustainably grown local agriculture, we the people cannot alone consecrate the ground, or the blossoms. That task falls to The Bees, to ensure that these fruits must not perish from the earth.
Torrey Olsen loves his bees! Five months ago, The FruitGuys Farm Steward Program helped install four hives in his Gabriel Farm orchard, and we’re glad to report that the bees are going gangbusters! With the specter of Colony Collapse Disorder hanging over their little heads, Torrey’s super-pollinators have built up their brood so splendidly that a second level (a “super”) recently was added to their quarters on the North side of the orchard. The bees are prepared and producing plenty of honey to sustain their hive during winter, and may produce enough for Torrey to harvest in the spring. Doug Vincent, the beekeeper from BeeKind who helped install the hives, reports that Torrey is now fully schooled in the old-West art of Bee Wrangling, and is doing a great job caring for and keeping his hive safe and productive.
The farming cycle relies on bees as primary pollinators, and Torrey’s bees were busy all spring and summer gathering pollen from the blossoms of his organic apples, Asian apple pears, and banks of lavender. Each female worker bee spends three weeks in the hive cleaning, guarding and nursing the brood; and three weeks in the fields foraging. As autumn approaches, chilly air and shorter days change life in the hive. The male drones are evicted and the trimmed-down colony produces another crop of female workers who will live for six months through the winter, feeding off of stored honey and buzzing to keep the hive warm. Honeybees are the only bee species that survive the seasons as a united colony, huddled together, living off savings, and surviving. Kudos to the consecrators.
To farm sustainably, as Torrey does, takes a lot of effort and support—that’s why we at The FruitGuys are proud to have such supportive customers (that’s you!) who help us give back to the growers we rely on. Thanks to you we’re able to make valuable investments at the farm level, such as these bees, to support the future of sustainable California agriculture. Thanks and bee fruitful.