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Summer Honey Harvest.jpg

08 June . 2017

Summer Honey Harvest ‘Lookin’ Sweet’ at Sweetwater

As Sweetwater prepares for its second annual honey harvest this summer, all signs are pointing to a bountiful increase over last year, when Sweetwater first became home to six hives of apis mellifera honeybees.

“The nectar flow is really on, and the bees are in strong honey buildup mode,” said Konrad Bouffard, owner of Round Rock Honey, which is managing the hives in partnership with Sweetwater.

Bouffard credits this year’s relatively mild winter and abundant sources of nectar from trees and flowers in Sweetwater and the surrounding Hill Country for his upbeat prediction. He expects this year’s honey harvest to surpass last year’s total of about 30 pounds, and he’s also excited about the flavor profile of Sweetwater honey.

Notes of persimmon and wild indigo

“Last year’s harvest was relatively small, which is to be expected from the hives’ first year, and we do expect a bigger yield this year,” he said. “The first year’s honey had incredible flavors, with a distinct twang from persimmon and prickly pear, and rich buttery notes from mesquite. You could also taste earthy notes of grass.”

Sweetwater’s honey also has unusual hints of wild indigo, which imparts a delicate flavor reminiscent of parsley or cucumber. Colorwise, Sweetwater’s honey tends to be a rich chestnut brown, with shades of red from the persimmon.

“The first time I saw Sweetwater, I knew it would be heaven for honeybees, with its natural creeks to provide all-important water, and more than 700 acres of natural open space,” Bouffard said. “Beyond its well-known wildflowers, Sweetwater offers many sources of nectar, including its many oak trees, persimmon trees and wild grapevines.”

Thriving hives

Bouffard will have a better idea of how many pounds of honey Sweetwater’s bees have produced this year when the harvest starts in June. After a quick hive check in May, however, he said the community’s honeybees appear to be thriving.

“We have three hives near the community entrance, and another three hives located in a more remote area, in one of the canyons,” he said. “Each hive is home to about 120,000 bees, and each can produce up to 400 pounds of honey a year with optimal conditions.”

The hives are located away from the community’s trail system, to protect both residents and the bees, but it’s easy to spot them. To observe the hives, just look for white boxes about the size of small suitcases, stacked anywhere from six to eight feet high and surrounded by fencing.

Bees make good neighbors

Sweetwater’s bees belong to the species apis mellifera, or western honeybee, prized for their sweet honey, gentle nature and hygienic habits.

Bouffard said it’s easy for people and bees to coexist as neighbors.

“You really have to try hard to get stung by a bee,” he said. “A bee will always bump you first if it thinks you are threatening. Just move away, and by all means don’t swat it.”

If you’d like to enjoy some Round Rock Honey, you can order online at www.roundrockhoney.com, or find them at stores and farmer’s markets throughout the Austin area.

Since it began in 2003, the company has sold over one million jars of honey, and it offers related products such as its popular natural beeswax lip balm. It maintains more than 1,600 beehives throughout the Austin and Hill Country area.

Sweetwater Living

Like honeybees, a growing number of newcomers and longtime Austin residents alike are discovering Sweetwater, which combines the convenience of an Austin address with Hill Country beauty and highly regarded Lake Travis Independent School District schools.

Sweetwater is conveniently located along U.S. Highway 71, just 5 miles west of R.R. 620 and Bee Cave. Sweetwater’s location puts you in close proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment at the Hill Country Galleria and other nearby retail centers. Residents are also close to first-class healthcare at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Lakeway, and Hill Country attractions including parks, swimming holes, wineries and much more.

Visit Sweetwater where 9 leading homebuilders offer new homes priced from the high $200,000s to $1million and up. Use our convenient Homefinder feature to see available plans and homes ready for quick move-in.

Want to learn more about more about Sweetwater's Home for Honey Bees? Read The buzz: Sweetwater sets up six community honeybee hives.