All the latest news from the farm and the kitchen
Over the coming weeks and months, the bees will need lots of feeding. During their first year at Hill Farm, their main job is to secrete wax and build a comb – so we’re making sure they have plenty of energy by planting borage crops nearby. Borage is one of the best plants for bees as it can regenerate its pollen nectar every 15 minutes (compared to apple blossom which is daily), which is perfect for a growing bee colony.
For the next twelve months, we won’t be collecting honey from our bees so they can build a strong population in each hive. During the summer the Queen Bee can lay around 1,500-2,000 eggs a day, so by next year we should have a flourishing resident colony!
Bees are absolutely vital to our entire food chain – including the pollination of crops here on the farm – so we’ve always been committed to using bee-friendly treatments wherever possible. Last Friday we hosted a visit from three leading members of Friends of the Earth’s Save the Bee campaign, who had heard about our commitment to stopping the use of neonicotinoid chemicals in our rapeseed seed treatments.
Friends of the Earth were especially interested in finding out how our current crops have been getting on, so Farmer Sam showed them around. Our rapeseed crops are strong and flourishing, but without the use of chemicals we’ve had to introduce new cultural techniques to grow healthy crops. By sharing our knowledge, we can help other farms conquer pest damage and stunted growth, all without the use of bee-harming neonicotinoids.
Although our new bee colony is still settling in, we’re able to continue producing of our popular Hillfarm Honey with the help of local beekeepers who have hives on our land. Thriving on the surrounding woodlands, grasslands and rapeseed crops, our honey is available both set and runny. You can buy your own jar via our online shop. Trust us, it’s absolutely delicious!