August 2, 2016 by glenfoerd
The newest addition to Philadelphia Honey Fest is Glen Foerd on the Delaware. We are happy to BEE (come on you know I had to do it) hosting Honey Happy Hour on Friday, September 9th (6-9 pm).
So what’s Glen Foerd’s history with honey bees? Well it’s a recent story and it starts at the estate’s Gate House.
In 2012 we discovered a well established hive was under the rafters of the Gate House. To verify if it was indeed a honeybee colony we contacted Joel and Jeff Eckel of We Bee Brothers to investigate. Sure enough, Glen Foerd had honeybees and lots of them! The Eckels were impressed with the longevity of a colony in one location. The former Gate House residents confirmed the colony had been there for more than 18 years. The bees had swarmed a number of times, to prevent overcrowding in the colony. The residents noted that when honey production was at its peak puddles of honey were often found on the ground under the colony entry point.
So, what did we do with our bees? Recognizing their ecological and economic importance we decided that the hive would be best off with someone who could properly care for them- Joel and Jeff Eckel of We Bee Brothers. Since 2012 they have been taking care of Glen Foerd’s bees for their urban beekeeping and honey production operation. In a little bit of an odd twist, it turns out that the Eckels are distant relatives of Glen Foerd’s longtime owner, Florence Foerderer Tonner. Tonner was the cousin of Joel and Jeff’s paternal grandmother. Ultimately the Eckels played a part in the preservation of what might be loosely considered an ancestral home. While they never received an inheritance from Mrs. Tonner, they did receive bees!
In the future we hope that Glen Foerd can establish a hive on the estate and not only to do our part to protect the honeybee population, but to develop programs about the fascinating life of bees and the critical role they play in the natural world. This will give us the opportunity to explore with visitors the importance of gardening to the Foerderer family, and the role of Glen Foerd Farms once located just across the Poquessing Creek from our current location. A great step towards educating the public about honey bees is our partnership with Philadelphia Honey Festival.
So mark your calendar and BEE ready for a fantastic weekend of events (okay seriously I won’t do it again). It will all start Friday (6-9) at Glen Foerd, and then move to two fantastic sites later in the weekend, Wyck Historic House on Saturday, September 10 (10-4) and Bartram’s Garden on Sunday, September 11 (10-4). Each day will feature unique vendors and programs. For more information visit: https://phillyhoneyfest.com/2016-schedule/. We look forward to seeing you this September!
Erica Freeman, Curator of Education and Collections
Glen Foerd on the Delaware