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I am a hobby beekeeper but sell my honey

A group of community gardeners would like me to start another bee yard on land near their community gardens.

They would like it to be a CSA (community supported agriculture) structure where they each pay a certain amount per year and then share in the harvest. They understand that they might either get a lot of honey for their money or absolutely none at all.

My question is how many shares should I make per hive and how much should I charge? Not many people do this with honey so I'm not sure whats fair to me and the customer
 

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Sounds iffy or I just sell them honey period and if there is only say ten people in this csa give each a pint jar of honey to have your hives near their garden spot.
 

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Just sell your honey to whoever. I wouldn't mess with it. I do really good at the berry patch I am at. I make $5 a 12 ounce bear easy.:thumbsup:
Kingfisher
 

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I forgot to say that the berry patch yard is FREE. I dont pay anything to him and he sells my honey. Find a berry patch or somewhere else that wants pollination.
Mike
 

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That just sounds like a problem waiting to happen to me.... why not simply offer to provide pollination services to their community garden for free? Then sell whatever honey you get from the hive/s? Keeps it clean and easy all the way around. fwiw
 

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That just sounds like a problem waiting to happen to me.... why not simply offer to provide pollination services to their community garden for free? Then sell whatever honey you get from the hive/s? Keeps it clean and easy all the way around. fwiw
Well said!
Mike
 

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Yes your hives will help with pollination but will there garden give your hives enough necter to make a surplus. Porbly not and the honey is being made from surrounding areas. Chances are you could put hives there and the gardners might see a increase in there yeild and might give you some. Maybe you could just give some honey as being friendly if they give you a spot to put your hives.
 

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Add up ALL your costs involved. Hive equipment costs, bee costs, extractor and bottling equipment costs, rent on your honey house (even if it is your garage), etc. Then add another 10%-20% to cover replacement of equipment and consumables, since stuff does wear out or get used up. (broken frames, gas, brakes, wear and tear on vehicle, etc)

Then add another 30% for your time (or whatever you price your labor at).

Divide the cost by the number of people you think you can sell shares to. (you get to own any remaining shares)

After the folks go into sticker shock, you can give them a history lesson about the very first welfare case in America - a beekeeper.
 

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Personally, I agree that it's not likely the best way to go about it.

having said that, I wouldn't split costs per hive. Just split the total harvest x number of ways as folks are into it.

some hives don't make much surplus honey and others go overboard. if folks only had stakes into one weak hive and others in to another strong hive, you will gets lots of complaining from those sharing on the weak hives

just my two cent,

Big Bear
 

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My farm offers several forms of CSA options depending on the items included. Vegetables or other comodities make it ease to portion out a set weight per week depending on crop results--we also grow more than needed incase we experience a bad harvest.

For poultry and livestock, the member purchases a share of an individual flock or animal.

For the bee hives, we are selling shares in individual hives. Pricing and terms of the CSA depend on your goals. We are seeking like-minded members that see any honey as a benefit, but not the ultimate reason for the CSA (bee populations are our primary driver). To that end, we do not offer any guarantees regarding honey. If a hive does very well, then those members benefit. If a hive performs poorly, then those members do not benefit (receive honey). We are pricing shares such that no loss is catastrophic from the member perspective. We also offer a discounted membership on the following year, if a hive does not make it.

So, I would recommend that we all use the CSA model to improve our cash flow status (you get the cash up front), place the focus on bee health, deliver high quality honey to those that benefit, and some non-honey benefit to those that don't. Spread the cost/investment of the apiary to members (taking the burdon off of the small farmer) and provide something of benefit to the entire local community. That's our approach.

Note: you could also choose to run your apiary as a co-op (all shares are equal and spread the risk across all members).

I hope that helps. Best of luck and let me know how you choose to go.

Andrew
Wadmalaw Island Farms
 

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I'm experimenting with CSA this year also. I've set aside 4 hives and I'm offering 40 shares at $25/ea. Given my harvests (40-120lbs/hive), at worst they'll be paying full retail and at best they'll be getting slightly below bulk prices. That'll give me roughly $1k before the season starts to make cap improvements. So far I've sold about 18 shares.

4 hives is an easy experiment for me. I'd be very hesitant to do it for a majority of my apiary.
 
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