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Welcome to Hiveshare 2019, Winter and Spring Newsletter

Welcome to Hiveshare 2019, Winter and Spring Newsletter-Brookfield Farm
Spring Blossom

 Brookfield Farm Hiveshare Greetings

You are very welcome to Brookfield Farm Hiveshare 2019. This is the fifth year for Hiveshare, already! We are very pleased to have fulfilled all our Hiveshare honey committments for the first four years, and apart from the amazing summer of 2018, generally in difficult circumstances for bees.

So this is your first update on your hive in 2019. Hiveshare 2019 runs from November 2018, and Hiveshare Cert no. 1448 and higher. Any questions on Hiveshare and how it works? We're delighted to answer, just have a look at our newly updated website or email

You are invited!

We are planning our (nearly) famous Honey Celebration for a weekend in August 2019 - it's a day on the farm, delicious honey themed food, farm walks, beekeeping and honey talks, and fun kids activities. What date in August suits you best? Let us know and we'll work around your preferences as much as possible!

Fairs and Shows

We had a great show at the RDS Craft Fair in December 2018, and met many of you there. We pulled a winner from the hat for our ''win a hiveshare competition'' but there is no reply from the winner's email, so after many attempts to contact them, we will pull another name - stay braced, it may be you. 

Other news, we had a stall at Showcase in the RDS in late January, and met lots of trade customers keen on our hand crafted beeswax candles!

apple blossom on Brookfield

Winter care

A little about the hives this winter. The bees in this low season are very different from their summer buzz, they are quietly waiting in their frames for the spring to return. We picked a bright, warm winter day to peek at a few hives to see how they were getting on, and to show you what's happening. 

Bees are cold-blooded, so cluster to stay warm. They generate heat by flexing their wing muscles and take turns being on the outside of the ball. The queen is in the middle of the cluster, protected by worker bees surrounding her. She will not leave this cluster for several months.

Bees are very good housekeepers and like to keep their hive clean. On warmer winter days when the temperature rises above 14C they will quickly fly out to get water and begin to clean the hive. We've seen ivy pollen carried in by the buzzy ladies.

During the winter the bee cluster will slowly move around the hive and consume their stores. If the bees become disconnected from their food stores they may starve.

Unfortunately this winter and spring our apiaries had some hive losses. Late winter is a difficult time of the year for bees, there is not a lot of forage for them, and they can be under stress from other environmental factors.

We have now sourced some native black bee nucleii from a great beekeeper, and are splitting some existing hives too. 


Flower meadows in full bloom on Brookfield Farm

We are busy now preparing land and sowing flower seeds sourced from a Cork supplier, on 10 acres of Brookfield. Some special areas are getting native wildflowers from our friends at

There is a lot of work in getting the seedbed ready, ploughing, harrowing, seeding and rolling in the sown seeds. 

We are also sowing 27 acres of spring barley and arable silage crops. Both are undersown with a multispecies grass and clover mix. We are planning a fertility building grass interval in arable cropping. 


Not only bees- flowers and lamb too!

Organic grassland with lakeshore herbs is an important part of our farm. We know that grassland is important for biodiversity, wild hares and other animals love our meadows. Also the grassland grows wildflowers for our bees. And where there is grass, we have a small flock of store lambs. Our sheep have a wonderful life, gambolling on the meadows and playing 'king of the castle' on boulders. 


Friendly sheep

Farm in the news + RDS Award!

Ailbhe is thrilled to announce that she is the winner of the RDS Talamh Awards for Sustainable Farming. It's a great honour, and is a super boost to the farm and our enterprises.

This February Ailbhe co-wrote and delivered a 5 day course in Regenerative Agriculture for IFOAM and 42 Acres in Somerset, UK. A really interesting group of participants!

Ailbhe also teaches at Gurteen Agricultural College - really enjoying the students in Environment and Agriculture BSc, a collaborative course with LIT. 

Here are a few recent articles featuring Ailbhe and Brookfield Farm:

Irish Independent and environment on farms. 

Irish Farmers Journal on the RDS award

And we've gone international, with IFOAM Organic International article!

Beeswax candles!

We hand make award winning delicious pure natural beeswax candles on Brookfield Farm too! Available on our website and at selected shops, including the wonderful Irish Design Shop in Drury St. Dublin 2 and Coffeewerkandpress in Galway.

Brookfield Farm
Coolbawn, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
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