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Carmelite honey harvest in York
20 August 2012

honey2012harvest05
Despite very disappointing weather this spring and summer, the Carmelite friar community in York harvested honey from the bee hives in the garden of More House Catholic Chaplaincy on 20th August.

The prior, Fr. Antony Lester, was helped by friend and fellow beekeeper Paul Raven. The crop will be shared with friends of the community and used by the community itself. Some will be given to local charities close to the community like HCPT to help with their fundraising.

Fr. Tony said: "Many hives in the area have produced no harvest this summer because with all the rain this summer the bees have had to eat their stores of honey. I'm delighted we've managed to get a good crop, though Whitefriars Honey has proved popular in the past and I don't think the jars will stay around very long!"

The photos below show the harvesting process. To read more about the More House bees visit www.carmelite.org/bees


The honey harvest took place early in the morning; this is when the honey stores are driest, the bees having driven off moisture during the night by beating their wings.


The bees were remarkably calm, but a whiff of smoke can help the process.


The hives contain frames in which bees store honey.


Any remaining bees are gently brushed off the frame.


The frame full of honey is taken to a storage box.


The frames - free of bees but full of honey - are collected together.


Fr. Tony wheeling the honey-laden frames away from the bee hives at the bottom of More House garden.


Tony inspecting a frame in More House kitchen.


Paul and Tony loading frames into an extractor watched by an
expectant friend


The frames are spun in the extractor. The centrifugal force spins the honey outwards and it collects at the bottom of the extractor.


The honey is passed through a sieve to remove any debris. It is then heated to 65 degrees to sterilise it.


The honey can then be poured into jars.


Each jar is also sterilised. Once filled with honey, it is marked with the producer's label.


Whitefriars honey: ready to enjoy!