Raising Bees at Tarry Market

Man with BeehiveI have always been intrigued by bees.  Perhaps, it is because I have spent so much time catering to Thérèse, the Queen bee!  Several years ago, I decided to sign up for a one day class on “How to Raise Bees in your Backyard” at the Greenwich Continuing Education Center.  Let’s face it, the dogs had died and I was growing a bit weary of feeding wild birds, whose despicable eating habits simply attracted raccoons,  squirrels, possums and skunks.  Bees seemed like a great idea. At least we would have honey for breakfast.   I could easily see myself meandering about the backyard watching the bees do the heavy lifting in recycling the best that nature has to offer.  I’ve long admired British books in which one of the main protagonists raises bees or leads a sedentary life looking after sheep:  D. H. Lawrence and Patrick O’Brien spring to mind.

Thérèse was not amused.  My fallback project to build a bat shelter – to keep down the number of insects in the backyard – met similar disdain, if not outright derision.

Tarry Lodge HoneySadly, I have had to shelve my pet “pet” projects for quite a few years, but recently become quite animated when I discovered that no less of a culinary authority than Mario Batali was now harvesting honey from apiaries on top of the roof of Tarry Market in downtown Port Chester.  For those not familiar with Port Chester, it is a small town on the New York border adjacent to Greenwich. Presumably, the bees fly to Greenwich to collect their pollen, since I was not aware that Port Chester had any flowers.  (Editor’s Note:  Bees will fly “only as far as they need to” to collect pollen, but some suggest that a range of 5 to 10 miles is about the limit.)

I am not convinced that a thumbs-up from Mario will cut too much slack with Thérèse, but I am hopeful.  If fortunate enough to get the green light from Thérèse, I can envision Mario and myself putzing about the backyard in our orange clogs discussing the lives of bees, Italian cooking and other useful subjects.

Bee happy!

PS:  Thérèse didn’t say no this time, she simply sold the house.


  1. Thomas Conigliaro says:

    You really should go for it!!
    When I owned a blueberry Farm in Cochecton,NY(1972-1981),I raised bees.
    What was fascinating to me was the different kinds of honey the bees would produce depending on the main flowers blooming.My favorite was the blueberry honey:very light with a mildly scentof blueberrries.Next was the locust honey.When the Locust trees are blooming every bee in the surrounding area concentrates on this tree.Literally, you can hear the trees ‘buzzing” from 300 ft away.It also is a very light colored honey with a distinctive sweet taste (sort of like eating a marshmellowbut not as strong).In the late summer the bees produce”wildflower” honey(i.e.any flower they can find).This honey is usually very dark and has a much stronger taste than those two mentioned above).
    Just make sure you have your Epipen handy for yourself and vistors to your home when you are extracting:)

  2. Hi Tom,
    Now I am even more enthusiastic. I remember visiting a honey store in Greece where dozens of flower flavors were represented. Clearly, you are an expert in this field and I will definitely be calling you as my primary consultant.

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