Posts Tagged ‘Miguel Bode’

The two best farmers markets on the weekend — and you can feel free to debate this with me — are the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm, and the Coral Gables Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm.

Coral Gables Farmers Market
405 Biltmore Way
(in front of City Hall, at Biltmore Way and LeJeune Ave.)

Hurry over to the Gables Market because this Saturday March 27 is the last day. Several members of Redland Organics are selling their wares there.

Jad, Jessie, Leah and Mary Lee at Hani's Mediterranean Organics

One recent weekend I stopped by to chat with the crew at Hani’s Mediterranean Organics. Everybody who walked up to the tent asked if cheese was available. “The goat cheese is in limited production and sells out fast. You got to get here early,” Hani’s wife Mary Lee patiently explained. She offered mussels cooked in white wine sauce with garlic, or maybe some lupini beans to snack on. Their son Jad was making falafel, and volunteers Jessie and Leah from Ohio State University helped out. (Hani is also at the Pinecrest Market.)

Paradise Farms, the only certified organic farmer at Gables market.

Across the street you’ll find Paradise Farms selling various fruits, vegetables and herbs. Paradise is certified organic, unlike other growers at the market. You have to get there early for their famous oyster mushrooms. The recent cool, dry weather slowed down mushroom growth, so there have been some weeks where they have been in short supply. (Paradise is not at Pinecrest Market, but you might find the mushrooms at Redland Organics.)

You’ll find Miguel Bode selling honey and pollen at his tent set up at the end of Biltmore Way right by LeJeune. Miguel’s wife was there last Saturday while Miguel was down in Redland checking his hives. He keeps bees at Bee Heaven Farm and at Paradise Farms. His wildflower honey is my favorite, and is a real taste of the local area.

Miguel Bode's local honey and bee pollen

Pinecrest Gardens Green Market
5855 S.W. 111th Street
(in parking lot in front of Pinecrest Gardens)

If you want Miguel’s honey but missed the Gables Market, you can also find it here, sold by Redland Organics. Everything is local, either grown on Bee Heaven Farm or sourced from organic growers within 150 miles of Miami. No telling what interesting things you’ll discover under the sprawling tent. In addition to honey, you can find certified organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, along with bunches of flowers and dried fruits, and Paradise Farms oyster mushrooms (subject to availability).

Word up to CSA members — the produce in your Saturday box is also available at market, so if you want more of something but didn’t find it in the extras box, go to Pinecrest. You can also find things at market which never make it into your CSA box, particularly fruit and herbs. On one recent Sunday, I saw rangpur limes, which look like small oranges but are not quite as tart as the familiar green limes.

The Pinecrest Market will run through April.

An assortment of familiar and unusual fruit at Redland Organics.

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Mystery of the bees

Bees like bananas. Taken in happier times a couple months ago.

About half the honey bees are dead at Bee Heaven Farm, according to Miguel Bode, the beekeeper. He checked his hives after the last freeze and again this past weekend. The bottom of the hives had a layer about an inch thick of dead bees, and there were plenty more dead bees outside the hive entrances. And hives he keeps down the road at Paradise Farms also suffered casualties, but not quite as many, and bees there were more active.

Without a doubt, Miguel suspects pesticide spraying [in the mass casualties in one hive]. No telling where it occurred, because a bee can range as far as a mile from the hive in its search for food. When a bee brings back contaminated pollen to the hive, it will get distributed to the other bees, which will also sicken and die.

Miguel was surprised by the huge quantity of deaths because the hives were in decent shape before the cold weather rolled in. The bulk of his hives, which he keeps in the suburbs, remain in good condition.

It’s not likely that it was the cold that caused the mass die off. Miguel pointed out that bees which live Up North make it through much harsher winters than ours without significant problems. Bees can survive cold weather. When the temperatures drop, the bees inside the hive cluster into a ball, and vibrate the muscles of their wings to generate heat to stay warm. The temperature inside the cluster is about 90 degrees. The bees rotate from the warm inside of the cluster to the cooler outside, so that all can get warm. [But on the other hand, if the bees didn’t have enough food to make it though the abnormally long cold spell, they could have very well been affected by the cold, Miguel told me on Jan 30th.]

So, because the bees have been diminished, it doesn’t look like there will be much avocado honey this next season. The trees are putting out buds and will start blooming in a couple weeks. By the time the next generation of bees is old enough to go out and forage (about six weeks from now), the blooming season might be past its peak. There’s also a chance there may not be as many avocados this summer. [All of this is might and maybe, because mother nature doesn’t work on an exact schedule. A lot of variables are involved.]

This incident is all the more reason why Miguel is searching for that special yard somewhere in the suburbs where he can move his bees. (There isn’t as much mass spraying of pesticides there.) If you have a big yard and love bees and honey, contact him at beemyhoneymiami(at)yahoo.com for the details of the deal.

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Bee Yard wanted

Beekeeper Miguel Bode

You might have seen beekeeper Miguel Bode selling honey and beeswax candles at fairs and festivals and markets all around town. If you bought wildflower, avocado or lychee/longan honey from him (or Farmer Margie), those are the products of his bees kept at Bee Heaven Farm, among other farm locations. I caught up with him at Ramble, and noticed he had a sign saying he was looking for a bee yard in suburban Miami. Your reward? All the honey you can eat — and an opportunity to do something to help honey bees survive.

“A bee yard is a place where bees can be put and survive,” Miguel explained. The ideal location is secluded or isolated, in an area where people will not go often. It would be a place where the bees won’t be disturbed or disturb anyone else, and preferably close to a fence. When choosing a spot, consider the other side of the fence, so that bees coming and going from their hives don’t disturb the neighbor having a barbecue, for example.

A row of bee hives at Bee Heaven Farm

Specifically, Miguel is looking for a space big enough for multiple hives, at least 15-20 at the most. The hives are boxes stacked in a row 2 feet wide by 12 feet long. He would like to set up 3 rows, with an 8 foot buffer in between. That translates to a patch of yard that would be 12 feet by 22 feet in size, not including any space immediately around the hives.

Currently Miguel is keeping most of his bees in agricultural areas. He explained that bees produce less in Redland that in the suburbs. In spring when avocado, lychee and longans bloom there’s plenty of food for the bees, but during the rest of the year there’s not as much variety. Miguel would like to move his bees to the Pinecrest or Old Cutler Road areas where the yards are large and there’s plenty of different things blooming year round. The typical yards in the city are too small for so many hives, though. Special landscaping is not that important. Bees will fly to wherever they find flowers. They usually range about one mile, and will go as far as three miles.

Bee yard wanted, sweet reward!

Pets and kids are usually not a problem, and will quickly learn not to bother. Generally, honey bees are not aggressive and will not willfully attack you. Just don’t go up to the hive and start hitting it, then they will get upset! Bees only sting as a last resort. Open pools (not screened in) are a red flag because bees are attracted to water to drink, and might frighten or sting people in or around the pool. Yes, bees drink water (I have seen a bee sipping water from a puddle), and during the dry months of March, April and May they need lots of water.

If you like bees and honey and think your back yard is the perfect spot, contact Miguel Bode at beemyhoneymiami(at)yahoo.com .

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