Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Short Video about Our Farm

This past summer, we welcomed OU film student Gwen Titley to our farm, as she wanted to create a short video about our farm to use for one of her multimedia classes. It helps explain how we got into beekeeping, how we extract our honey, and a little about the seasonal process of keeping bees. Thanks Gwen!

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Cooking with Honey... Pumpkin Pie!

Just in time for Thanksgiving... Honey Pumpkin Pie! I made this recipe last week, and I hope to be able to make it again for Thanksgiving. I just need to get to the store and buy some Snowville Creamery whipping cream, as it wouldn't be complete without fresh local cream as an ingredient, as well as whipped up as a topping (I've developed a dislike of cool whip... how can you stomach it after tasting real whipped cream?). My only advice is to be sure to follow the instructions about covering the edges of the pie crust with strips of foil, since baking it at 400 degrees for 50 minutes will thoroughly burn the edges. Since I prefer graham cracker crusts, I made one for this pie and for some reason thought I could forego this step since it was not the traditional pie crust. WRONG! This is why I did not photograph the pie with the ugly edges. Here is the recipe, reprinted below, in case you are lazy like me and don't follow all the links in blogs. If you want a nice printable version, I recommend checking out the allrecipes site.

Pumpkin Honey Pie


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie


  1. Beat eggs slightly in a large bowl. Blend in pumpkin, milk, cream, honey, spices, salt. Pour filling into pie shell. Cover edges of shell with strips of foil.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking for 15 more minutes. An inserted knife should come out clean when done. Cool, and serve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grocery Store Honey versus Local Honey

As local beekeepers, we have known for a while the benefits of local honey as compared to honey you see on most grocery store shelves. We try to educate our customers about the benefits of honey with local pollens, which can help build resistance to airborne pollen allergies. The other obvious difference between the two types of honey is the flavor. Until we started beekeeping, I didn't each much honey. This was because I had only really eaten pasteurized honey, and it didn't seem that great. Even the honey you find at many local farm markets will be pasteurized, as smaller honey processors have picked up the practice of pasteurizing and high pressure filtering their honey so that it will stay liquid on the store shelves rather than granulating in time (as seen in the picture above). These packers often sport a label with a local address, so the consumer really has no clue where their honey came from, but only know where the honey was processed.
Over the past two weeks, we have had several customers point out the article: Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey, published by Food Safety News, and later picked up by the Associated Press, which details the differences between local, unprocessed honey, and honey that is high pressure filtered, thus removing all the pollen, as well as much of the flavor and nutritional benefits of honey. The article is lengthy, but definitely worth reading. We're not trying to convince you to buy more of our honey... but we do feel it is important to always buy honey directly from a beekeeper that you know and trust.

Cooking with Honey at the Edible Columbus Cooking Class

For the past few weeks we have increased our honey consumption by ten-fold here at the Barnes household. This is pretty impressive, considering we already ate a LOT of honey. Isaac is our chief consumer, as he puts it on everything. But I began to realize that I was not utilizing what a wonderful supply we had on hand, and there really are so many versatile ways to use honey. It is so much more than just a sweet treat.
All of this was spurred on by an invitation to speak at an Edible Columbus cooking class on "Cooking with Local Honey." While I spoke on the benefits, types and varieties of local Ohio honey (shown above, our Spring, Summer, and Fall honey, left to right) I really learned so much more about cooking with honey just by sampling the wide array of offerings chosen by Tricia Wheeler, editor of Edible Columbus magazine. You can follow this link to find all the recipes we sampled in the class, but I am going to post my two favorites here. I cooked them both this past week and received rave reviews from Isaac.

Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

4 pounds root vegetables, like butternut squash, celery root, rutabaga, beets, parsnips, pumpkin and carrots, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch cubs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet, or two if needed. Rotate the tray halfway through cooking until vegetables are lightly caramelized and fork tender, about 45 minutes. Toss periodically to make sure they cook evenly. While vegetables are cooking, whisk honey and butter together into well incorporated.

During the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, remove vegetables and brush them with honey butter mixture. Sprinkle with rosemary and return to oven to continue cooking.

Honey Marinated Chicken Breasts
Serves 6

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon honey
2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Flatten each chicken breast half with a meat pounder. For the marinade, put the mustard, wine and honey in a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken breasts, seal the bag and marinate in fridge for an hour. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Dip the marinated chicken breasts in the mixture, coating all sides. Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking pan and cook in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Our kids liked it too, but they have yet to master the art of comments like, "This is amazing, mom!" I wanted to take beautiful photos of both dishes. But sometimes after working hard on a meal, you just want to sit down and eat it, you know what I mean? So you have to use your imagination... but trust me. They are both delicious. I've included the above picture of our kids, Maizy (2) and Mason (3) after we made homemade spinach ravioli last week. No honey in that recipe, but it is included in the Fall issue of Edible Columbus, mentioned in the previous post. Go check it out!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thank-you Edible Columbus!

With great appreciation to Nancy McKibben for taking the time to write a well-researched story about our farm and the issues facing honeybees and beekeepers, here is a link to the article in the latest Fall issue of Edible Columbus! What a great free publication highlighting local food artisans and purveyors. Find it at farmer's markets around Columbus, local food hot spots like The North Market, or look for a complete list of locations to pick up a copy here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A local choice

Recently food blogger Nicole Pallante came to our farm to take a tour and learn about our operation. Her project is: One destination, one ingredient, one recipe. She wants to reconnect people with their food, by replacing one everyday ingredient with something local sustainably and/or organically grown, and seasonal. Her blog is very interesting, and she really immersed herself in our beekeeping practices while she was here, even taking a sting to her forehead! Check out her blog here:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pollen Power!

We have two new exciting items for sale! Bee Pollen, and Black Locust Honey, both being harvested by Isaac as I sit here and type this post. To start with... we always get the question, "What do you do with bee pollen?" Pollen is used in several ways... as a nutritional supplement, an energy boost, and as a remedy for local airborne pollen allergies. You can eat pollen by itself, in a smoothie, on your cereal, in a salad, or our favorite way... on a spoon mixed with some honey. Pollen is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is composed of:
Protein (21.2%), Carbohydrates (48.5%), Fatty Acids (9.9%), Ash (3.5%), Fiber (14.2).
We have already heard customers at market who give us feedback that the pollen is improving their allergies and giving them a boost of energy. Pollen has a chalky consistency, but a more herbal, floral flavor. I prefer mixing it with honey to give it added flavor, and to improve the texture. Why not try mixing it with our fresh Spring Black Locust Honey?
This is our very favorite type of honey we harvest here at Honeyrun Farm. So light, delicate, and mild, it has a distinctive taste that is hard to describe. It is simply delicious, unique, and we always sell out of it before the summer and fall honey are long gone. Why not stop by one of our farm market stands and give it a try? Or if you want to take my word for it... swing over to our Etsy shop and purchase a jar. We are even offering a sale this week to entice you a bit further... 20% anything in our shop! Use the coupon code POLLENPOWER at checkout and it will automatically deduct your savings. Sale ends on the end of the day on July 4th. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What it sounds like to stand in a swarm of bees...

If you are curious about bees, you may wonder why and how they swarm. In my opinion, this is one of the most fascinating aspects of bee biology. Swarming is their way of managing the size of their hive, and furthering their species. When a hive becomes too crowded they will do what we call, "throwing out a swarm." The old queen will leave the hive with the swarm, and new queen cells will eventually give birth to a new queen (they will fight it out to determine who gets to be the big mama in charge). The bees will often cluster on the outside of their hive on the day they will swarm, and this usually happens after several rainy days (we've had our share lately, haven't we?).
When it is time to go, the bees will start to fly in a frenzy, making an intense buzzing sound that is so much fun to hear and witness. They will sometimes hover for a while, but usually will slowly move towards the direction they plan to go. Sometimes they don't go much further than 10-20 feet away, such as this hive has done. They will then cluster on a branch, fence post, side of a house, etc., until the "scout bees" have found a nice place for the hive to make a home. The queen will be hanging at the center of a swarm, with all the other bees clinging to each other around her. There is no comb, beeswax, or honey in a swarm, so the bees are usually docile because they have no home or property to protect.
If you see a swarm, you should try to contact your local extension agent, or do a google search for your local bee club. Beekeepers such as us are more than happy to come and take your swarm. We simply knock them down off the branch into a box, and later put them in one of our hives, with some drawn out comb with honey to entice them to stay. Sometimes we will even go as far as putting a frame of brood (baby bees) in, because the bees have a hard time leaving the babies. Yet sometimes, when a hive has it in their mind to swarm, they are even going to swarm out of the hive you provided... so it is never a sure-fire thing. Just today we had a swarm leave one of our hives after we caught it last night (leaving the brood and all). Bees are wild animals, no matter how much we try to domesticate them for our own use, they will do as they please. If you are local to our area, check out our Scioto Valley Beekeepers website to access a list of local beekeepers who are happy to help with swarms. In Columbus, the Central Ohio Beekeepers have a similar program.
Don't fear the swarm!
-Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Snapshots from the farm on a Wednesday morning

Every morning when I wake up and look out the window, I am amazed at how green everything is! That is one aspect of living in Ohio that I really do enjoy. I thought it might be fun to simply take my camera around the farm and post pictures of how everything is growing, flowering, and enjoying the rain. While we commiserate about not planting corn, tomatoes, etc etc etc... some of the plants that are in the ground are really thriving. Here is the garlic, in all it's splendor. I can't wait for the garlic scapes!The catnip has really gone crazy this year! Some cats are about to be very happy, because these plants are at least 4' high, and I plan to bring some cuttings to the Worthington market this weekend.
Some of our potato plants are already flowering... while others are just now starting to poke out of the ground!
The chickens seem to enjoy their little pond. They venture over to grab a few worms that have worked their way up to the surface, but they can't resist a human being with a camera! They are curious little ladies.
This is a valerian flower. I planted these so that I could harvest the roots in the fall of the 3rd year (which is this year, finally!). This plant can be used as a sedative, steeped in a tea, or in bath water to help cure insomnia.
The strawberry plants looked so pretty with the dew, and the little flowers dropping their petals to reveal the tiny green berries below.
This is my very favorite type of Spearmint. I call it "fuzzy leafed Spearmint", and I took a start from my mom's garden, which she took from my Grandma's garden, and so on. It has such a delicate flavor. It is my first choice for herbal mint tea.
The chives are also starting to bloom! I love their flowers!
And finally you get to meet the newest addition to our family... Lucky! Courtesy of Teresa Hoxworth at Danville Veterinary Clinic, Lucky certainly is one lucky dog. She was going to be euthanized, but instead my sister Teresa decided to give her as a gift to our son Mason for his 3rd birthday. Despite the fact that Lucky has chewed up everything that I was using in my greenhouse (an entire gallon of fish emulsion fertilizer, my good permanent market, plant tags) as well as shoes, bags of mulch, morning papers... the list goes on.... she is a great dog. Very lucky, I might add.
Hope to see some of you at market this weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This guy is a little sensitive...

Let me introduce you to one of my very favorite plants. It has been a favorite of mine since I was just a little kid, and my aunt had it growing in a pot on her back porch. His name is "Sensitive Plant" and he is just a tad bit shy...On a fine summer's day he will sit with his leaves open, as you see above. But as soon as someone comes along and brushes his leaves (below), he closes up, kind of like a venus fly trap, but much quicker and more gratifying. After about 10-15 minutes, he will open up, and the fun begins once again. I remember being told that we weren't supposed to sit in front of the plant all day, touching and terrorizing the poor thing... but it really is too much fun! I will bring a few of these to market this weekend so you can all enjoy the show put on by Mr. Sensitive Plant.
Now... a trip down memory lane. About a month ago, Becky received 20,000 onion plants in the mail (and yes, they did smell pretty strong). She hired a team of 2 helpers, along with her father-in-law... who rigged up this amazing back-saving device to assist with planting. Normally it would take many hours and uncomfortable back strain to plant this amount of onions. But in just two days, (well, two very long, wet, muddy days) Becky and her crew were able to get all 20,000 onions in the ground. One person "drove" the tractor (kept it straight as it crept along at .0000001 mph), while two people lie down on this device (formally some useful farm implement he picked up at an auction) and poked the onions through the hole in the black plastic. Becky has drip irrigation running under the black plastic, to preserve moisture at the plants' roots and control weeds.
Becky is on the left, and her helper Kyra on the right. Can you believe they are smiling through it all? It was COLD.
And on a completely unrelated note... we have baby chicks! Our kids love them... a little too much. Whenever we go out to see them Maizy shouts, "A chick, please!" so that I will let her pet them. These birds are actually broiler chickens, and we will be getting them butchered so that we can have a freezer full of anti-biotic free meat for our family throughout the year. Shhhh.... don't tell Maizy.
Until next time... when the rain stops (hopefully)!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tulips, Rain, and Trouble-shooting

Spring is here and we are busier than ever! It seems to be the same story all over Ohio... rain, rain, rain. I'll try not to complain because without it we wouldn't be seeing these gorgeous double tulips that I planted last fall. I think it is safe to say my obsession with tulips is just beginning...The bees like them, too! It has been so much fun watching them work on the sunny days when they can leave the hives. We recently took 60 hives to several apple farms in Ohio for pollination. This is a first for Honeyrun Farm, so we'll see how that goes. It is nice to know we can help them out, because many apple farmers are having difficulty finding beekeepers who do pollination work. But it is a lot of work... loading up the hives late at night when the little ladies are all back home, then taking off early in the morning before they have time to get out and get back to work. Imagine what it would be like to wake up in the same house, but when you walked outside... you had a completely different neighborhood! I think this is exactly what the bees feel like when they get moved!
On the only really nice sunny day last week, Mason and I worked at cleaning out the leftover garden plants from last year. This is Mason as he strenuously pulls out an old zinnia plant, all while holding on to a tulip. It slowed him down a bit, but he was relentless.
And did I mention that our greenhouse has about a foot of standing water in it? For the past 4 years we have only used the greenhouse to grow potted plants. This year, we took 2 of the tables out and decided to plant some things in the ground. This year, it flooded. We also dealt with a broken heater, a broken water table (we have hot water running through pipes in our table), and a broken tiller. None of these things are surprising. Farming is a lot more about fixing machinery and troubleshooting than it is about planting seeds in the warm sun. It's just the warm sun that we remember and focus on. I'll let you know when we get one of those days. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Check out the Worthington Winter Market

Even though it is officially Spring in Ohio, you can still enjoy the Worthington Winter Farmer's Market through the end of April. My last post provided a recipe about eating locally in the winter, and I promised pictures of what is offered at the winter market. So here's a sampling...

Delicious green leaf lettuce from Van Scoy farms. Grown in their greenhouse all winter long!
Check out their website here. They are good, honest farmers who bring a quality product to market.
And here we have the samplings of jams from Sweet Thing Gourmet. Created in small batches from their kitchen, they have 32 flavors ranging from Lavender Peach to Raspberry Jalapeno...Balsamic Strawberry to Scotch Bonnet Blueberry. It's amazing! They also offer delicious brownies (seen below) and biscotti. Check out their website.
Meadow Maid cheese always has a great sampling of their grassfed organic milk cheeses. Grassfed cows produce milk that is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6, as well as vitamin E.
I will be at this market again this Saturday from 10:00 am-1:00 pm, in the Griswold Senior Center at 777 N. High Street. Come out and say hi, and if you tell me you read this blog post, you can get 5 free honey sticks, plus $1.00 of any (and every) item you buy at our booth!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Eating Locally in the Winter

Eating local foods in the winter in Ohio can be challenging... but not too hard if you plan ahead and know where to find the farmers. This week I wanted to post a recipe from a meal I prepared using mostly local ingredients. I love eating Italian Wedding Soup when I go to restaurants. I had never made it before because it seemed like it would be difficult to make... and I didn't really think I could do a good job because it seemed like a "fancy" kind of dish. But I figured, hey... it can't hurt to try.

I have been buying fresh spinach every other week when we're at the Worthington Winter Farmer's market (in the Griswold Senior Center on N. High Street) from Gretel and Steve Adams from Sunny Meadows Flower Farm. They have been growing it in their unheated greenhouse all winter long, along with the most tasty carrots you will ever try. Both these items happen to be ingredients in Wedding Soup! Here is a picture of the finished product, accompanied with some locally made sourdough bread from Lucky Cat Bakery in Pataskala, Ohio. Of course, not the best food photography seeing as how it was already dark when we were eating it, and I put it in a dark bowl so you can't really see anything. Oh well... you get the idea.

Here is the recipe, which I got from

  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 5 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped escarole or 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 In medium bowl combine, meat, egg,bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil& onion powder; shape into 3/4" balls.
  • 2 In large sauce pan, heat broth to boiling; stir in spinach, orzo, carrot& meatballs.
  • 3 Return to boil;reduce heat to medium.
  • 4 Cook at slow boil for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender.
  • 5 Stir frequently to avoid sticking.
  • 6 Serve with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

  • I used turkey broth that I had made and frozen after Thanksgiving. I also used local hamburger from my parent's farm. Here is a picture of the beautiful baby carrots from Steve and Gretel:
    And here is their gorgeous Spinach. It is so flavorful and fresh!
    Stop by the Worthington Winter Market tomorrow if you want a chance to pick up some great local food. I will take my camera to take some pictures of the other offerings of this great little farmer's market and post them next week. There's always a lot of meat (beef, pork, chicken), vegetarian burgers (Luna burgers), organic local baby food, goat cheese as well as traditional cheese, apples, baked goods (gluten-free, too), fudge, eggs, handmade soap, and lots of great bread. Oh, and I almost forgot... HONEY!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    A sampling of what is to come..

    This week I finally put my seed order together and am getting excited for Spring. I thought I would fill you in on what you may expect at the North Market this season. That is, if I am diligent enough to follow through on these ideas....
    I always try to pick a few crops to work on each year, and this year I chose miniature head lettuce and carrots. Both are things I love to eat, and need more practice growing. It is hard to get a lettuce to form a complete head around here, because I always end up harvesting the tips before it gets big enough to harvest as a head! I chose several varieties to try, both red, green, and mottled... so we'll see what happens.
    Blue Jade sweet corn... just for fun. Don't expect to see this as market except in 4" pots sold as individual plants in the Spring. This is one sweet corn that can actually be planted in large containers, and used as an ornamental. I plan to do a small row in the garden just for our family (I'm awful when it comes to weeding large plots like sweet corn.) I'll put a few seeds in large whiskey barrels around our property for decoration.
    I chose two varieties of carrots to grow this year. This variety below is called Dragon, and features a purple exterior with orange inside. I need Becky to teach me how to weed carrots. Or maybe just a little more ambition when it counts... like early May when the weeds begin to Sprout.
    The other variety I chose is called Paris Market. I thought these would be easier because they are small, take less time to mature, and thus, there would be less time for the weeds to take it over. Right?
    I also am planting a lot of potatoes this year. I like potatoes because you can get them in the ground early, and also harvest them earlier than crops like tomatoes and peppers. They are gratifying because they grow pretty quickly, and the kids can help me dig them out of the dirt and throw them into buckets. I chose some old favorites like Red Norlands, Kennebecs, Katahdins, as well as some fancy new varieties like Purple Viking and Purple Majesty. They are purple inside and out!
    These photos were all taken from seed catalogs... but hopefully this summer I will have some pictures of the real thing, taken right here on our farm.

    We're currently bottling lavender infused honey for the Weekly Fresh Market Bag at the Greener Grocer right now. We received about 5" of snow last night so this is a fun activity to do while being snowed in!

    If you enjoy this farm blog, head on over to Curly Girl Farm blog, where our farmer friend Kristen blogs about all sorts of old-fashioned farm activities. If you need advice on jelly making, sauerkraut making (the real, "stinky crock sitting in your kitchen for weeks" way), raising chickens, making maple syrup, growing heirloom produce, sewing, and pretty much any other old-fashioned craft or trade... Kristen is your girl!