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Chatham Park’s New Pollinator Garden at the Water Recovery Center will Benefit Entire Community

The buzz is out that our most recent Chatham Park venture will bring a little sweetness to the life of our residents! Our new pollinator garden, now visible from the roof of the community’s Water Recovery Center (WRC), hosts eight beehives amidst a variety of plants, trees, and bee-friendly perennials. The plants were chosen using the North Carolina cooperative extension as a source by our team of landscape architects. Approximately 250,000 tiny tenants call this area home and will benefit the entire community with their pollination activities. As Chatham Park development continues, additional pollinator gardens will be installed as part of an overall system.

Honeybees are important to our environment in a variety of ways. Their pollination services help to provide food for both humans and animals such as fruits, berries, nuts, and seeds. They also are essential to gardens and trees, pollinating wildflowers and shrubs as well as ensuring beautiful landscaping and healthy, life-giving vegetation. Of course, we cannot forget the incredibly delicious and healthy honey that they produce for us to enjoy. Make sure to be on the lookout for local honey which is not only a wonderful preservative but can also be a remedy for allergies. Purchasing local honey is often the only reward that small time beekeepers get for their efforts, so we encourage you to support local businesses and stock up! You may even get the chance to sample honey from the Chatham Park bees as early as next spring. 

The Chatham Park honeybees were raised in hives at Rocky River Bee Farm, a 15-acre farm near the Rocky River just south of Pittsboro. When their new accommodations were complete, Jody Moore with Rocky River Bees successfully moved the colonies to the WRC to begin their new life. Passionate about apiculture, Moore is a NC Master Beekeeper who promotes the advantages that bees bring to our world. Honeybees differ in many ways from native bee species. While most native bees do not sting at all, a honeybee will die after it stings a human just one time. Additionally, the honeybees’ principal form of communication is through chemicals called pheromones. Moore spent months working with the Chatham Park team so that the landscape architects could design a garden around the needs of the bees as well as his needs as the beekeeper. 

Mimicking hollow tree trunks, these hives allow bees to undergo each stage of their lives from eggs to larvae and then pupae to emerging adults. They will also be able to store pollen and nectar in their new homes and create honey. As the hive grows, more frames will be added. In addition to the eight hives at the WRC, a pollinator “condo” has been installed near the greenway and stormwater pond at Vineyards. This structure, built by Wood Art Studios in Pittsboro, will benefit native bees with numerous areas available for bees to nest individually.  

Since the bees were moved from their original habitat, they must relearn where everything is located. To reduce their stress of finding food, Moore placed feeders in the form of dark blue boxes on top of their homes. Eventually these feeders will be removed once the bees find their own sources of nectar. The feeders were also installed because the bees were moved in late summer before the fall nectar flow so available food was scarce. It is imperative that they be provided with a sugar syrup as 40% of hives die in the winter, many due to starvation. Moore is also conscientious of the fact that since the mid-1980s, honeybees have been plagued by parasitic mites that can kill entire colonies if left untreated. The result has been a dramatic drop in the state’s honeybee population. Moore made sure that our Chatham Park honeybees are treated for the varroa mite and will give the bees continual care. He even plans to harvest the excess honey stores next spring. 

As we promote community togetherness, we encourage our residents in Vineyards at Chatham Park to be good neighbors to these natural wonders. Bees face many challenges, but you can help by planting seasonal foliage, especially plants that bloom during the summertime. Growing organically is always best as pesticides kill bees but here are alternative options to going full organic:

  • Use liquid pesticides, rather than dust, as bees can inadvertently mix dust pesticides with the
    pollen, they are gathering on their legs and then feed their babies with it back at the hive. 
  • Do not spray the blooms themselves. 
  • Treat your plants in the late afternoon or evening. Bees are usually done with their field work by 5 or 6pm. 

Check out NCBeeKeepers.org for more information on the best flowers and shrubs to plant. You can also offer small pollinator condos in your backyard -perfect for native bees – and birdbaths are a huge asset to bees as they spend a lot of their energy bringing water to their hive. Flapping their wings across that water keeps their hive climate controlled at a comfortable 92 degrees year-round. Keep in mind that these tiny insects are traveling and pollinating across an expansive 5-mile radius from their hive. Let’s give them a zone where they can live and flourish!
 
BEE in the Know! Some fun facts about our amazing friends.

  • Bees have five eyes and six legs.
  • Bees have two pairs of wings.
  • Bees fly about 20 mph.
  • Bees are vegetarians while wasps are carnivores.
  • Male bees in the hive are called drones.
  • Female bees in the hive (except the queen) are called worker bees.
  • The queen may lay 600-800 or even up to 2,000 eggs each day during her three- or four-year lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees. 
  • Worker honeybees live for about four weeks in the spring or summer but up to six months during the winter.
  • The honeybee’s wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz
  • A honeybee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
  • Honeybees are not native to the US.  They were brought by the earliest European settlers.
  • Bees carry pollen on their hind legs in a pollen basket or corbicula.
  • A populous colony may contain 40,000 to 60,000 bees during the late spring or early summer.
  • An average beehive can hold around 50,000 bees.
  • Foragers must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey.
  • The average forager makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • Average per capita honey consumption in the US is 1.3 pounds.
  • Bees are important because they pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the US including fruit, fiber, nut, and vegetable crops. Bee pollination adds approximately 14 billion dollars annually to improved crop yield and quality.
  • Only the strongest hives make honey.
  • Honey never spoils and is still edible after it crystallizes.  Just heat the jar in warm water.
  • A swarm is when a colony reproduces. A new queen is made and the old one leaves with about half the workers to start a new colony elsewhere. 
  • Bees are very gentle during a swarm.
  • 80% of native bees do not sting.
  • Home remedies for bee stings include applying meat tenderizer and tobacco.
  • NC has the largest beekeeper association in the country NCSBA.
  • North Carolina has over 500 native bee species.
  • The honeybee is North Carolina’s state insect.
  • Most native bees are cavity dwellers.
  • Over 50% of native bees are solitary nesters which will pollinate blooming plants but do not produce surplus honey.
  • Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water.
  • Honeybees produce beeswax from eight paired glands on the underside of their abdomen. 
  • Honeybees must consume about eight pounds of honey to be able to biochemically produce each pound of beeswax.
  • Fermented honey, known as Mead, is the most ancient, fermented beverage. The term “honeymoon” originated with the Norse practice of consuming large quantities of Mead during the first month of a marriage. 
  • A drone bee comes from an unfertilized egg; therefore, it has no father, but it has a grandfather.
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Chatham Park Plans for A New Community Amenity Coming Spring 2022!

Amenities are at the heart of the Chatham Park master-planned community. We are committed to offering residents and guests a community which encourages a well-rounded life. To achieve that goal, we continue to develop resources and facilities that will enhance the Chatham Park lifestyle and build on our five pillars of Innovation, Connectivity, Quality Design, Healthy Balance, and Stewardship

Our next recreational venture, Paddles – a swim and pickleball amenity – will be the perfect complement to our community vision and provide area residents with even more leisure options. Scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend 2022, Paddles will be located in the Vineyards next to Knight Farm Community Park and will feature a six-lane competition-style pool with a slide, a kiddie pool, and a concession stand for future swim meets. Members will benefit from the cabanas, individual loungers, and outdoor showers. Outside of the swim area, plans are underway for eight pickleball courts, a nod to the growing popularity of this niche sport. Not familiar with pickleball? Easier to learn than tennis with less stress on the joints than aerobics, pickleball is a great way to stay healthy and meet your neighbors!

We are also excited to utilize Paddles as our new Information Center for the Vineyards. The club building will boast a sales center, offices and a kitchen area for sales center employees, a pool equipment room, restrooms, and a concession stand. Stay tuned as we will continue to introduce even more amenities to be delivered!

Membership at Paddles will be available to Chatham Park residents and non-residents alike. Fees and membership structure are still in development. 

We look forward to sharing more details about this exciting addition to Chatham Park as they become available. Paddles is just one more example of the incredible growth happening in our technology centric 7,068-acre live, work, play, learn master-planned community located just outside of Raleigh in Pittsboro, North Carolina. For more information on our current amenities, our homes, or how we are fulfilling our promises for more balanced lifestyle opportunities, visit us at www.ChathamPark.com.

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Fresh off the Farm! Farmers Markets near Chatham Park

Chatham Park residents have several options for farm fresh produce in Pittsboro, NC. Two farmers markets in downtown Pittsboro, and another located in Fearrington Village, offer organic, non-GMO, sustainably and regeneratively grown produce and ethically raised meat and dairy products.  In addition to weekly markets with numerous vendors on site, local farms make use of Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) methods. CSA farms allow community members to buy a “share” of the crop and then receive once-a-week portions of the farm’s harvest.

The Pittsboro Farmers Market, located downtown on East St., has been a staple for the Pittsboro community and surrounding areas since 1997, and is a “producer only” venue. Everything at the market was grown or produced by the vendor, whose product comes from within a 50-mile radius of the town.  The market is open year-round on Thursdays from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and features fresh North Carolina seafood from Hook and Larder, goat dairy products from Celebrity Dairy, and high-quality, naturally raised beef from Lilly Den Farm. Solstice Herb Farm’s wares include medicinal and culinary herbs, a handcrafted apothecary-formulated body care line, and heirloom varieties of produce. The market also showcases fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms from local CSA farms. 

Chatham Mills Farmers Market is open Saturdays and has a seasonal calendar (April-October, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; November-January, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.).  Found in Historic Chatham Mills in downtown Pittsboro, this market boasts a variety of permanent and guest vendors, spotlighting one of the latter each week in their newsletter. Chatham Park residents will find everything from organic produce, local meats, and fresh eggs to handmade crafts, preserves, and baked goods. CATHIS Farm out of Lillington provides organic-fed, pasture-raised pork, lamb, chicken, turkey meats, and eggs while The Yeast Roll Company sells their hot, baked-fresh rolls. You can also grab something sweet from Carolina Cravings Co. or enjoy themed events like “Pie Day,” an annual throw-down of homemade pies complete with bake sale and tasting contest. Check out their website for a free “Recipe of the Week” and keep up to date on events like the seasonal “Plant Sale Days.”

If Thursdays or Saturdays aren’t convenient for you, spend some time on Tuesday at the Fearrington Farmers Market which is conveniently located at Fearrington Village.  Another “producer-only” market, it is open during Daylight Savings (March-November) from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. When winter rolls around, it is open from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.  This market is in its 30th season with over three dozen full-time vendors.  The Barking Bedlie offers all-natural dog treats, Chatham Cider Works sells their small-batch hard ciders (made with local apples), Sour Bakery provides their wild yeast-based breads and pastries, and Valley View Farm out of Chapel Hill has local, all-natural Angus Beef and Pork products. A few helpful tips include bringing cash as not all vendors accept card or checks, signing up for their weekly newsletter, and checking out their website’s map of weekly vendors to make completing your shopping list a breeze.

Also, don’t forget CSA farms In Good Heart Farm, Granite Springs Farm, and Copeland Springs Farm & Kitchen. Most of the season’s slots fill up quickly but offer different options on pickup locations and times. Some of them set up booths at one of the local farmers markets but investing in a share of seasonal harvests with your community is an excellent way to ensure you always have ripe local produce!  

Our proximity to farm fresh produce and ethically raised meat and dairy products is another example of our commitment to our pillars by providing our Chatham Park residents with Healthy Balance options.