Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wrapping up: what do I do with all this great info?

          So when I wrote my proposal for this project forever ago (in May, time has flown), I originally said that I wanted to write a final paper at the end to summarize my work. But now that I have all this great information in front of me, it feels like a paper wouldn't be a very effective use of it. I'm still going to summarize my work in a short paper, but I want to do something more meaningful with it.

          I would like to create something that's sleek and graphic, that concisely tells beginners how to become urban beekeepers. I've read a few full-length books and blogs that talk about it, but I'm not satisfied with that and want to think of another way.

          A brochure?
          A booklet?
          A big poster to display at farmer's markets and beekeeper's meeting?

          Please let me know if you have an idea for how I could effectively reach those interested in urban beekeeping. Also, let me know if you know of a good program to make these great graphic things in!

How does local honey compare to storebought?

            Compared to the delicious waterfront feeding frenzy of Smorgasburg and Manhattan’s crowded Union Square Greenmarket, McGolrick Park Farmers Market is pretty low-key. 

            McGolrick Park is in Greenpoint (near Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and Hayseed’s Farm Supply) in a Polish part of the neighborhood. The market happens on Sundays from 11am-4pm and takes up the sidewalk along half a block on the side of the park, with only about 10 vendors when I was there. Most of it was produce, but the Brooklyn Grange was there selling honey.

The only picture I took at McGolrick Park. The market was pretty simple, just 10 or so tents on the sidewalk like so.

            I sat on a bench across from their stall and simply watched the goings-on as they finished up their day. A few people came by and bought veggies and honey, and they were cutting some good deals since it was close to the end. They also talked about how their booth, at the very end furthest from the street corner where most people probably enter the market, was not ideal. Compared to the business I saw them doing at Smorgasburg, McGolrick Park was rather unspectacular. 

            I chose this location to sample honey prices in grocery stores and compare them to the Grange prices at the market, to try to understand what type of investment buyers would have to make to buy local honey over non-local. Here’s some things I noticed:

Number of varieties/sizes—Market name
3—McGolrick Park Market
7—Organic Valley Market (>0.1 mi)
12—Rachel’s Corner (0.3 mi)
17—Busy Bee Grocery (>0.1 mi)

Two price samples (per ounce)—Market name
—McGolrick Park Market
$1.62/$0.64—Organic Valley Market (>0.1 mi)
$0.32/$0.09—Rachel’s Corner (0.3 mi)
$0.33/$0.31—Busy Bee Grocery (>0.1 mi)

            Even compared to the organic grocery store, the Grange honey is almost twice as much per ounce. They also only sell two sizes (4 oz. and 9 oz.) as well as comb, whereas the other stores sell many more sizes and brands which are mostly bigger (usually 12 oz. or 1 lb.)

            I’m working on compiling this information into something I can include in my paper. It goes to show that NYC honey is still generally for those with disposable income and an interest in eating locally. The Grange is the largest commercial apiary in the city too, which means that their prices are pretty much the best you can get for rooftop honey. But as the local food movement becomes more mainstream, we’ll see if these great local goods can ever come into the range of affordability for those without disposable income.