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Honey Production, Fruit Picking Delayed By Late Spring

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Now that the weather has finally warmed up, farmer’s markets are back in business. But you may not see some of your favorite foods right away. Fresh fruits and the honey supply will be delayed this year.

Step into the packing facility at Ames Farm Unlimited, and it seems like business as usual. But owner Brian Fredricksen says all the jarred honey, candles and honeycomb are leftovers from last summer.

“Luckily we still have honey from last year to sell,” Fredricksen said.

Weather has slowed this year’s supply.

“We had, of course, a very long winter, longer than anyone could’ve expected. So that means the bees were in their hives about an extra four-to six-weeks longer than normal,” he said.

Fredricksen is just starting to see increased activity in his more than 40 hives.

“They’re very into the trees right now, the maples, willows and box elders are flowering,” he said.

Bees are searching for pollen and building their hive, a key part of the honey-making process.

“Our new crop probably won’t be available until June or July or even a little later,” he said.

This late spring isn’t just having an effect on honey production. It could also have an impact on berries, melon and even apples.

The bees have yet to find the budding trees of Apple Jack’s Orchard, potentially pushing back the start of the apple-picking season.

Still, Mike Dekarski expects a full crop.

“It’s just going to be a week later, so if you’re used to coming out to an orchard and getting a honey crisp on the 15th of September, it may be seven days later,” Dekarski said.

Anyone in agriculture knows success depends on the weather, and forecasting the future leads to an unpredictable outcome.

“Could be a smaller crop depending if things warm up and stay warm,” Fredricksen said. “It’s anyone’s guess at this point.”

Many beekeepers are now starting to move their hives to southern states in the winter so they can start growing their hives early.

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