My mother went into hospital this past week and, at 98, she may not leave. She had been, amongst many things, president of her Legion Branch, all women and she was one who served as a gunner in the British Auxiliary Territorial Service. Several years ago, she and the few women who remained, surrendered their Branch Charter to the provincial organization because no one was left to carry on. Almost every voluntary organization could say the same thing. From volunteer fire service to Community service clubs to bee clubs; each faced the same issue: Who will lead into the future?
Signs of renewal are sprouting! Today eight people are running for mayor in Victoria and another 37 are running for councillor positions. In Saanich, two are running for mayor and 22 are running for eight councillor positions. The jobs may come with a stipend of some sort, but typically require the incumbents to keep their day jobs. It’s a lot of nights and weekends and I am deeply respectful of the people who put their hand up to take on the challenge.
The Capital Region Beekeepers Association will reach its 50th anniversary next year and we, as a club, are at a similar juncture. Many of the long-time members have retired from beekeeping, taking years of knowledge with them. Those in club executive positions are moving to new communities, starting new ventures, or dealing with unexpected health issues. As we reach the end of our bee season and prepare our hives for winter, please consider how you can support the club by volunteering to shadow an executive role, sit in on exec (Zoom) meetings or take on an organizing role as a region contact.
If I have piqued your interest, please consider the role of Education Coordinator. Throughout the year we receive requests from clubs, schools, and associations to speak about beekeeping. The coordinator fields those requests and either personally attends or schedules other club members to attend and present to the group. If you are interested, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you took your bees out to Jordan River to feed on the fireweed, then you were sitting in the Queesto Community Forest, owned by the Pacheedaht First Nation. Other forest management companies charge beekeepers to place their hives on the clearcuts and we truly appreciate that Queesto does not. If you are coming in person to our club meeting, please bring a contribution of jarred honey or get your jar into the hands of someone who will be attending. Carolyn Hissen will be making a trip out to the Queesto office to drop off the honey as a thank you gesture.
Tara Galpin, our regional inspector will join us via Zoom call to talk about some of the lesser-known bee diseases and a couple of our more seasoned beekeepers – Alanna and Heinz – will be at the meeting to share their own experience with these diseases. See you on Thursday.
2 thoughts on “President’s message (October 2022)”
With mention of hives kept in clearcuts near Jordan River ~ I have recently purchased a kilo of that particular Fireweed Honey on a local website ~on trust . However , not being a Beekeeper myself , but a longtime lover of worldwide honey’s ~ I am surprised at the glutinous ‘thickness ‘ of this honrey~ quite unlike Fireweed honey’s we have previously known . The flavour as well is not as strong a Fireweed taste as usually known.
The last thing I want to be is to be suspicious of my honey ~ yet knowing of a worryingly increasing worldwide propensity to dilute/contaminate varioius bulk honey with syrups of all kinds , I wonder if there is a way to have my latest purchase of honey tested for purity ? Failing that can I bring this honey to any longtime beekeeper who might be expert in discovering impurities or not. ?
With Thanks , Mike
Hey Mike! Let’s dissect your question into two categories: Glutinous ‘thickness’ or VISCOSITY and FLAVOUR
VISCOSITY: The weather in the cut blocks in Jordan River is often extremely warm. This heat increases the evaporation of moisture, which often leads to honey that is extremely viscous (or thick). So, viscosity alone is not an indication that honey may have been contaminated by syrups (or the like).
FLAVOUR: I find fireweed honey to be extremely sweet; acutely sweet even. This sweetness removes much of what I consider flavour. Instead, wildflower honey (from nectar throughout the spring/summer seasons) has a far more subdued sweetness and a more floral smell. That’s because the honey includes a mixture of nectar from various plants, each with their own level of sweetness, flavour and fragrance. This variety in flavour depends on what the bees have access to when foraging. While Jordan River’s cut blocks over provide an abundance of fireweed, there is also other floral choices available, like blackberry and salal. This variety may alter or change (not adulterate) what you’ve tasted as fireweed from before. Moreover, when it comes time to extract honey, beekeepers may extract frames that had some existing nectar in them from before, or not have an exact reference as to which frame come from which foraging location (this happens). This can also change the flavour of what’s extracted, since fireweed honey may now be mixed in with honey from a different (forage) location.
Bottom line is that if you’re buying from a trusted source, then there’s a good chance the honey is what it says it is. The more local you go, the more you should be able to question the beekeeper about their hive locations and/or nectar sources.
Finally, flavours are often subjective and therefore difficult to corroborate. And, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find a flavour you enjoy and have that exact honey replicated one year later (a following season). It may be similar, but not exactly the same. Since you’re dealing with livestock and you can’t gauge exactly where/on what they forage, things may be different from one season to the next.