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We Grow Bees And Honey

Bee Clover 6.20.13 (62) crop web

No one knows terroir like the Rogue Farms Honeybees.

This year, our 7,156,283 honeybees made 89,453,537,512 stops to collect nectar from flowering hazelnuts, maples, roses, apples, walnuts, cherries, pumpkins, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries and clover. The honey they produced is a sampling of all the flavors of the Wigrich Appellation – a unique taste of place.

And soon, you’ll be able to taste the terroir of Rogue Farms for yourself when the honey we harvested is used to brew 19 Original Colonies Mead, Honey Kolsch and Braggot.

So how do we harvest our honey? Here’s how.

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Honey is just one of the farm fresh ingredients we grow here at Rogue Farms to create a proprietary palate of flavors for Brewmaster John Maier. Growing our own is the best way to make sure we use the freshest honey possible from the same farm where we also grow our hops, rye, pumpkins and jalapenos.

JM Honey Harvest 02_edited-1 web

John removes a beeswax seal from a honeycomb which allows the honey to be extracted during harvest.

We open all the hives and check the honeycombs to see which ones have enough surplus honey for us to harvest. We want to leave enough honey behind for the honeybees to feed themselves during the upcoming winter. So we take only the fullest honeycombs.

Rogue Beekeeper Josh Cronin uses a smoker to calm the bees when he opens the hives.

We use a smoker to calm the honeybees when opening the hives.

Honeybees09 web

Here’s what a full honeycomb looks like – heavy and bulging with honey hidden by a thick seal of beeswax.

After the beeswax is removed, we put the honeycombs into a hand cranked extractor and give them a spin.

ExtractingHoney10_forweb collage

The extractor spins the honeycombs using centrifugal force to remove the honey. The honey drips to the bottom and passes through a light filter before we gather it in buckets.

When we’re done, we drive the just harvested honey 77 miles over the Oregon Coast Range to the Rogue Brewery in Newport to be brewed as Mead, Kolsch and Braggot. This is as farm fresh as it gets.

Join us Saturday, September 7th at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon for our annual Harvest Festival. Come see how we grow beers and spirits!

Can’t make it to the farm? Then here’s a video about how we grow bees and honey.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Scott #

    Hello. Does having honeybees on your farm offer any benefit to the hops?

    October 19, 2013
    • Hi Scott,

      No. The honeybees don’t pollinate our hops. We plant only female hops so that we can grow cones without seeds. On the other hand, the honeybees are hugely important to our pumpkins, marionberries and jalapeños. Honeybee pollination of these crops improves yield and quality. Our rye, just like the malting barley we grow in Tygh Valley, is self pollinating.

      Rogue Farms

      October 19, 2013

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