2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Kuma Honey

When I'm not at Umami Mart, you can usually find me near some bees. I've been beekeeping since 2014. I feel very fortunate to have been mentored by Betsy of East Bay Urban Bees. It was at Umamiventure #33, back in 2012, that inspired me to keep bees. Ever since, the bees have been teaching me about life, patience, death, and the ecosystem. I am humbled under their tutelage.

Every year, some time between spring and summer, I extract the honey from my hives. This year, I was rewarded with the fruits of their labor in July. It is one of the most joyous activities I have ever taken part in and I feel lucky to be able to do it every year with the help of my partner. It's always nice to have a helping hand, as you can get yourself in some pretty sticky situations.

The harvest this year yielded just enough for me to put some on the shelves at Umami Mart. With the launch of this limited Kuma Honey, I thought I'd share some photos of my hives and how honey is extracted.

I have a small area in my yard to have three hives. Here is a shot of one of my hives with a frame that has nectar in it. Later, the bees will cap these cells and it will become honey.

Kuma Honey

I'm going to throw in a shot of capped brood just to show you how gorgeous these cells look. From these cells will emerge baby bees!

Kuma Honey

Full frames of honey.

Kuma Honey

To start, we must sterilize the jars!

Kuma Honey

Then, using a serrated uncapping knife, we cut off the caps, releasing deliciously golden honey.

Kuma Honey

Beautiful shards of wax capping fall onto the pan.

Kuma Honey

The frame is exposed!

Kuma Honey

The frames are loaded into a honey extractor.

Kuma Honey

This year, we rented an electric honey extractor that can spin 8 frames all at once.

Kuma Honey

Once the switch is turned on, you can relax for a few minutes.

Kuma Honey

The anticipation...

Kuma Honey

And... the bucket runneth over...

Kuma Honey

This year, I designed some labels for the honey. I've been calling the honey I harvest Kuma Honey for a couple years now. My last name is Kumano, or Bear Field, in Japanese.

Kuma Honey

Bear Honey 2019! Compared to last year's winter harvest, this year's honey was more blonde and golden. It has a light floral taste, with hints of citrus and pepper.

Kuma Honey

Each worker bee makes 1-1.5 teaspoons of honey during her lifetime, making every drop very precious.

Thank you, bees, for your bounty. But most of all for helping me slow down and appreciate the time we have on this bee-autiful earth.

Kuma Honey

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1 comment

  • Disappointed not to be sble to have the honey this year.

    May I reserve a couple of jars for next summer? My cousin in Vancouver is a honey fiend, and I ajways trh to get him interesting honey. He us a foodie and works with several Japanese and Canadian food and sake companies. Also, a friend of ours attained Buddhist monk status and his name is Kumasen.

    Please put me on your mailing list, for when the honey will be for sale.

    Thank you
    Penny,

    Penelope Haru Snipper on

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