September 12, 2011

Honey Extraction and Zenger Farm

The Harvest Fest was Saturday at Zenger Farm.  The hubs and I (and Neverella) volunteered to help out the Zenger Farm Community Bee Project for a couple hours.  This was the first time I had actually been out to the farm site, it is within the city of Portland and only a few minutes drive from our house.

View of part of the farm, notice the houses beyond in the trees.
The farm sits on SE Foster Road near the Franz Bakery outlet, neighboring homes and along the Springwater Corridor, a pedestrian and bike trail that links to the city center.  The farm has chickens, turkeys, a few acres of farmland, greenhouses and of course some beehives.

Zenger chickens and sunflowers
We had the pleasure of helping out the bee group with honey extraction.  The group has a honey extractor that they allowed the public to use during the Harvest Fest for a small donation to the farm.  One of the bee group members brought in two supers full of capped comb.

Super full of capped comb
We learned that you don't have to have any special tools in order to slice the top off of the capped comb.  We used a fork!  We just scraped the fork across the capped comb until all the cells were open, then flipped over the frame and did the same to the other side.

Frame full of capped honeycomb
Frame of uncapped honey
Frame ready for the extractor
The frames were then placed into the extractor, in this case a manual crank extractor similar to this one.  Apparently, once the frames have been through the extractor you can set them out near your bees and they will finish cleaning the remaining honey out of all the comb.  Then you can save the comb/frame to be re-used next season.  We learned that it takes a lot more pollen to create the wax for comb than it does to produce honey.  So if you can save their hard work for next year, they can spend more time creating honey and less time building comb.

We also walked around the farm on a self-guided tour, checked out the farmstand where Zenger was selling their produce and honey, a few other vendors including Livingscape Nursery, and some volunteers at booths answering visitors questions about keeping chickens, bees and composting.  It was a nice day at the farm, and we learned a good deal more about beekeeping.  We will be ready next Spring for our own hive!


  1. Your mom and I worked together at Arc, and she was relating all the honey extraction she witnessed Saturday. I love your pictures and the way you have explained the process. I am looking forward to hearing all about your honeybee endeavor next year. Meanwhile, I am enjoying your blog and the very inviting photos.

  2. Oh, good, I am glad you are enjoying the blog! I am pretty excited to get bees next Spring...should be an adventure.