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It’s Honeybee Swarming Season!

 

 

Honey Bees in my Plum Tree

Honey Bees in my Plum Tree

Why do #honeybees swarm? Because they are honeybees. Honeybees swarm for a number of different reasons, but the overwhelming most reliable reason why honeybees swarm is due to genetics. Genetics make honeybees swarm and it is also one of the primary ways that honeybees expand the population and genetic diversity of colonies in a geographic area. Honeybees can also swarm due to inhospitable living conditions such as, too crowded and not enough space, poor beekeeping skills (i.e. the beekeeper is new or not paying close enough attention), and pest infestation. Even though a swarm of honeybees looks very threatening, it is my experience that while honeybees are swarming, they pose little of no risk to people. Prior to an actual swarm, a pheromone based signal is given off, likely from the Queen, to prepare for swarming which causes many actions to start happening. Some of which are: scout bees go out and find a new suitable home and report back and the nurse bees build a queen-rearing honey-comb cell for a new future queen. Once the queen-rearing honeycomb cell is built, the existing senior queen deposits a fertilized egg inside. About twenty-eight days later a new and future queen bee emerges, soon thereafter, she takes a mating flight and the male bees all chase her, where I have read, a queen bee will mate with as many male bees as she can, sometimes over fifty!

Once the new and future queen returns from her mating flight, the existing senior queen has decided to leave, relinquishing the hive to the new and future queen. The senior queen already has made a crucial decision of where the next home will be and then she takes roughly 50% of the worker honeybees with her and by the tens of thousands, they take flight. Presto! You have a swarm of #honey #bees.

Over the next couple of weeks to two months, I will be out capturing honeybee swarms, where and when possible, I will post pictures of the little darlings wherever they land a give you all an update of honeybee hijinks.

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Food Warrior

Sun Lu-t'ang

Sun Lu-t’ang

I, Farmer Donald, am blessed to have the experiences associated with farming the land around my suburban home. I had motivation from many sources, but key sources of inspirations were family lineage, supporting the honey bees, feeding myself and my family healthy food right from the garden. In my personal quest to understand more about where my food comes from, how it was raised, how it interacts with my body, both in the short term and the long term, I have found maintaining clarity is very difficult. Food is personal.

My health is all that I have for without health; everything else in life becomes more and more challenging. I feel that it is imperative to arm myself with the latest information, protect myself and my family from industrial food companies, and defend my community from lies and deceit. It is difficult not to feel embattled from the many foodborne illness headlines, GMO produce, GMO meat, packaging contamination such as BPA in plastics, vitamins and supplements that work one day and the next week they are linked to a malady, and on and on it goes. Speaking as a farmer, I feel a certain energy and zeal when speaking about food, nutrition, and health; therefore, I am going to evolve this blog into discussions around health, diet, food, nutrition, recipes, and how-to guidelines. There are a lot of people doing similar things; however, I hope that I will inspire you, dear readers, to follow this blog, recommend this blog, like my posts, leave a supportive comment, and even visit the farm some day. In becoming a Food Warrior, I hope to enlighten and bring a bit perspective to the wide and diverse subjects around food; moreover, I hope to interact and learn from other bloggers and learn from the fine community of readers too. Lastly, while being a Food Warrior will be an evolving term, it is my goal to fight for enlightenment, peace, and a long healthful life for me, my family, and my community.

2013 Silicon Valley Tour de Coop

Come and get it at Yummy Tummy Farms!

Come and get it at Yummy Tummy Farms!

The Silicon Valley Tour de Coop 2013— a self-guided bicycle tour of chicken coops and urban farms between Menlo Park and San Jose.

The second annual Silicon Valley Tour de Coop, bike ride and coop tour is taking place 9am – 4pm Saturday, September 14, 2031. This free, self-guided bicycle tour of chicken coops and backyard urban homesteads, including honey bees, worm composting, and organic gardening, and, of course, chickens. Experienced urban farmers will show off their coop handiwork while sharing their joy of raising chickens and the benefits of creating backyard ecosystems that support the residents and neighborhoods, as well as the planet.

Your very own local suburban farm, Yummy Tummy Farms will be a featured urban farm stop where Farmer Donald, friends, and neighbors will be greeting cyclists, offering delicious farm samples, and leading regular farm tours. Full details are available at: http://tourdecoop.org/yummy-tummy-farms/

In addition to providing a fun, family friendly, community building event, the organizers also hope to energize those “on the fence” to jump into the urban homesteading movement. As Michael Pollan says in his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, “What we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world– and what is to become of it.” In a time when lists of ingredients are virtually unintelligible, raising chickens or honeybees, and gardening organically provides wholesome, fresh, nourishing food, as well as being a balm for the earth.

This year’s tour features a variety of coop tour routes, with individual city loops (5-10 miles) and a larger 50 to 100 mile loop including stops from San Jose to Menlo Park and every city in between. Participants, or “tourists” register for a limited number of reservations on Eventbrite and a few days prior to the tour receive a printable map showing the tour route. Full details are available at the Coop Tour website, http://tourdecoop.org.

So grab your bike, your friends, and family and join us on the Silicon Valley Tour de Coop! Find out for yourself how to reconnect to the great outdoors of your own backyard. Enjoy meeting your neighbors and making new friends while cruising between urban farms on bikes!

Yummy Tummy Farms: "Harvesting Healthy Happiness"

Yummy Tummy Farms: “Harvesting Healthy Happiness”

Free Publicity and Free Art Farms

Yummy Tummy Farms has three primary core values and those are to spread suburban farming, increase self sustainability, and to reclaim domesticity. I (Farmer Donald) do a lot of public outreach spreading the messages, learning, and benefits of suburban farming; moreover, as part of those efforts, I also founded San Jose Urban Farming on Meetup.com http://www.meetup.com/urbanfarming/ San Jose Urban Farming Meetup events will reoccur about every two weeks and focuses on all things farming, gardening, and sustainability; moreover, if you live in the Santa Clara Valley, please attend a San Jose Urban Farming Meetup soon. We are always looking for fun interesting hosts, so if you have an interesting idea for hosting a future San Jose Urban Farming Meetup, please email Farmer Donald at yummytummyfarms@gmail.com

As part of my outreach, I teach classes on farming, gardening, and self sustainability all over the SF Bay Area and as an outgrowth of a class I taught, I had the good fortune of meeting Tracy, proprietor of Free Art Farms in Santa Clara, CA. Tracy attended my Starting Heirloom Tomato Seeds class in early 2013 then joined San Jose Urban Farming. Tracy is super ambitious, full of energy, and an impressive urban farmer that did more than just talk the talk, she really took action and started her farm with conviction and purpose. Tracy took it upon herself to proactively reach out to the San Jose Mercury News and invited the newspaper to do a feature on her farm, Free Art Farms. The San Jose Mercury News did a full page story on her farm that was very flattering and inspiring. We at Yummy Tummy Farms, thank Tracy for the kind mentions in the San Jose Mercury News.

Here is a link to the San Jose Mercury News article and some pictures from the San Jose Urban Farming Meetup which occurred yesterday 7/13/13:

http://www.mercurynews.com/home-garden/ci_23628112/professional-couple-discovers-joys-suburban-farming

Here are some pictures from the San Jose Urban Farming Meetup

Tracy Free Art Farm 2013

Tracy Free Art Farm 2013

Yellow Peach Free Art Farm 2013
Yellow Peach Free Art Farm 2013

Vining Strawberry Border Free Art Farm 2013

Vining Strawberry Border Free Art Farm 2013

Tomato Privacy Wall Free Art Farm 2013

Tomato Privacy Wall Free Art Farm 2013

Squash Wildflower Blend Free Art Farm 2013

Squash Wildflower Blend Free Art Farm 2013

Squash Wildflower Blend Free Art Farm 2013 #2

Squash Wildflower Blend Free Art Farm 2013 #2

Free Art Farm Corn Privacy Wall 2013

Free Art Farm Corn Privacy Wall 2013

What’s Ripe?

Yummy Tummy Farms is the neighborhood’s local suburban farm and we are selling farm fresh produce every weekend 10:00am to 4:00pm. This weekend 6/29 & 6/30, we are featuring four varieties of garlic, French red shallots, arugula, butter head lettuce, organic raw honey, local-made jam, BBQ Sauce, large heirloom tomato plants, exotic eggplants, relish, bread & butter pickles, fruit leather, and farm-grown blue popcorn. Over 30 varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes ripening soon; forecasted ripening date is July 28th! FREE vegetable plant with any purchase, just mention Nextdoor. If you have fruit trees that need harvesting, we’ll come by and harvest them and return some of the fruit back to you in the form of delicious fruit jam. Come by 5611 Doorn Lane San Jose, CA near Blossom Hill and Meridian or call 408-320-5365 for more info. Please support your local suburban farm and buy your fresh neighborhood grown produce from us. Prices vary and cash only.

Orange Flower with Honeybee

Orange Flower with Honeybee

Organic Honey, Fruit and Vegetables Ripe and Ready!

Yummy Tummy Farms, LLC is open and selling farm fresh produce every weekend 10:00am to 4:00pm. NOTE: Hours may vary, suggest you call before coming. If you live San Jose, CA support your local suburban farm and buy your fresh neighborhood grown produce. This weekend 6/22 & 6/23 we are featuring four varieties of garlic, french red shallots, arugula, lettuce, organic raw honey, local-made jam, BBQ Sauce, Relish, fruit leather, farm-grown blue popcorn, apricots. Prices vary. Heirloom tomatoes ripening soon depending on the weather, forecast ripening date currently is July 28th! First come first serve. Cash only. FREE vegetable plant with any purchase. Call 408-320-5365

Local Wild Bee on French Red Shallot Flower

Local Wild Bee on French Red Shallot Flower

Salad Greens

Salad Greens

Blue Popcorn

Blue Popcorn

Raw Organic Wildflower Honey

Raw Organic Wildflower Honey

Heirloom Expo 2012 Summary

Tower of Squash Power from the national Heirloom Expo 2012

In the coming weeks I will share with you my thoughts related to attending the 2nd annual National Heirloom Expo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Most of my posts will be directly related to farming and gardening, but some posts may start with the Heirloom Expo and transition into bigger lessons and that have value in other parts of our lives. Understand that this show is massive in size and scope, meaning depending on your level of interest and involvement in farming, gardening, healthy non-GMO food, livestock, permaculture, and many other green topics to voluminous to name, that the title of my future posts will go in many fertile directions. When and where possible, I will post graphics and pictures to anchor my references to the experiences that I am trying to communicate to you, but in some instances, I was so involved in being a sponge soaking up the information and experience of it all that taking pictures was the last thing on my mind. Here are some of the speakers that I will be reviewing in upcoming posts:

  • Robert Kourik- Author of Roots Demystified 
  • Axel Kratel- Distinguished member of the California Rare Fruit Growers who did a fantastic presentation on heirloom apples
  • Jim Adkins- Sustainable Poultry Specialist and founder of Sustainable Poultry Network who spoke in impassioned ways about breeding, identifying, and maintaining heirloom poultry varieties alive and vibrant
  • Kristee Rosendahl: Very cool presentation on technology and digital tools in support of local foodsheds
  • Patricia Foreman: Tried to speak about gardening with and for chickens, but failing technology and lack of preparation did her presentation in
  • Janel Healy: from Southern Exposure seed Exchange did a great presentation of growing great garlic

In sharing my experiences and impressions of the National Heirloom Expo 2012, I hope you will learn something, get involved with Yummy Tummy Farms in some way, and maybe even attend the National Heirloom Expo next year.

 

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