Thursday, May 10, 2012

Barley Salad and Beekeeping with Danielle!

We visited the hives yesterday with one of our favorite beekeepers, Danielle M., who is one of the farmers at Churchview Farm and an accomplished baker at La Gourmandine Bakery in Lawrenceville.  Danielle is tending six hives at Churchview.   What's the barley salad have to do with this?  Nothing really--just made it as part of celebrating Mom's birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday, Mom!) and wanted to include a recipe in this post.  The salad was a big hit at Mom's birthday party and a breeze to make. Scroll to the bottom for the recipe AND a great find the queen photo!

Danielle showing her skill.  In this hive, we were checking to be sure it was "queen right," which means that it had an active, laying queen.  The best sign that a hive is queen right is the presence of newly laid eggs.

This is a frame of capped brood, which is a great sign of a thriving colony.  The filled in cells are bees in the pupa stage and will soon emerge to join their sisters.

An active entrance of busy foragers bringing in pollen and nectar.  An active entrance like this is a good sign that the colony is thriving.

We were also checking for swarm cells.  A quick way to do that is to tip the super up on its end and look at it from the bottom because the bees build swarm cells on the bottom of the frame.  Here, we see a number of what are called "play cups." These are potential swarm cells--but they don't have an egg or larva in them yet.  A colony will often build play cups just as insurance in case they need to make a queen.  However, on the bottom left side, you can see swarm cell in formation.  There's also one in the center of the middle frame.  In both cases, the cells are damaged, so there won't be any queens emerging there.
Can you find the queen?  Look for a bright blue dot!


This is adapted from a Martha Stewart Living recipe.  Makes about 8 servings.
1 1/2 cups pearl barley (not instant)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons summer honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup fresh mixed herbs (I used chives, cilantro, parsley, thyme and oregano)
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse barley well and place in a large saucepan with 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, lower heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until barley is tender.

While barley is cooking, whisk the onion, mustard, vinegar, honey and oil in a bowl.  When barley is finished, drain if necessary and add to bowl, mixing well.  Let cool for about 15 minutes and add herbs, mixing well and adding salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  

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