It has been a busy few weeks here at the Hampshire College Farm. The student workers have been hard at work for over a week and there are muddy boots to show for it! Our vegetable crew has transplanted thousands of starts (with thousands more to go still!) into the fields including tomatoes, leeks, popcorn, and a variety of flowers for our pick-your-own fields. Those flowers will be happily pollinated by our new healthy hives of Italian bees!
Livestock Manager Shannon Nichols and student worker Sophia bravely undertook the challenge of installing 50,000 bees and 5 queens into hives that are strategically placed around the farm. While the colony is getting established the bees will be fed sugar syrup, which will free them from the need to forage for nectar, and they can focus their efforts on collecting pollen, producing beeswax, and drawing out comb. The honeycomb that the bees make this summer will provides warmth and food throughout the winter when they are “hibernating”. While there might be some honey to collect by the end of this fall, there will certainly be plenty of delicious honey produced next summer that will be sold on campus and used in our dining hall!
The other addition to the farm this week is a delightful and rambunctious litter of piglets from Parsons Farm in Hadley. The student workers have been affectionately calling the ringleader “Wilbur Spot.” The pigs are being kept in the loafing barn while we prepare some fencing to make a pasture for them. They spend their days napping and (of course) eating! These pigs will enjoy the summer out in the grassy fields at the Hampshire College Farm and eventually will tip the scales at over 240 pounds!