Bees play an very important role in the production of so many crops that we grow on the farm. As an example we have many tons of Butternut squash in storage now that have to be pollinated by bees when the flowers develop on the plant in July. The fruit then grows and we harvest it in September.
Many insects pollinate crops. There are also native bees that live on the farm. When we took over this farm ten years ago UC Davis, Stanford and Princeton did a multi-year study on the native bee population here. They saw it grow to significant numbers very fast. Ours was one of twenty sites monitored which included wild land sites, conventional and long time organic farms. After the study was complete the researchers conclusion was that the only thing that could explain our quick and vibrant population was the fact that we grew lavender.
Each year we have been working with our friend Matt Beekman who is a large commercial beekeeper from Hughson. Matt brings in 12 large hives during lavender harvest and takes them away to harvest the lavender honey.
We now have a permanent bee 'crew' on the farm. We have leased an extra forty acres right next door from the Erwin family in Dixon. Gary Erwin has established his own hives on the farm. He is building up their populations. We are sure they will make a valuable contribution to the farm and provide some quite delicious honey to boot.