T-High U Know: Lester’s Kosher Farm

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T-High U Know: Lester’s Kosher Farm

By Riley Kuffner

lesterbee_web

Photo Courtesy of: Aaron Lester

T-High U Know is a lifestyles column devoted to the everyday Tam student. Each month, a random page is selected from the school directory. That open booklet is then nailed to the wall of the Tam journalism room. By throwing a dart at it, I decide who to talk to that month and ask them the question “What do you do?” Their response is printed here. Every student has a story to tell and you could be next.

Here at Tam you may know senior Aaron Lester as a science whiz, poker hustler, and pool shark who coaches preschool gymnastics on the weekends. However, two weeks out of the year, he can better be described as a Pennsylvania Kosher Farmer.
That’s right, over the summer Lester travels across the country to his uncle’s 300-acre farm located right in the middle of “The Keystone State.” On his latest trip, he was tasked with weeding, growing vegetables, raising Guinea fowl, making cheese, and, maybe most importantly, tending the bees.
His uncle has 12 honeybee hives and typically produces over 700 pounds of the sweet and sticky honey a year. This past July was a bit different though. An extremely cold polar vortex from the winter months wiped out part of the bee population and Lester’s job was to put the population back on track.
Equipped with a bee-keeping outfit and smoker gun, he had to make new “nucleus” hives by bringing together drone, worker, and queen bees in different stages of development from existing colonies.
“The hardest part was managing the brood,” Lester said. “The brood are the eggs and they have to be transferred and then checked daily to ensure the new hive is established.” As if that wasn’t challenging enough, he has to remember that bees sting. When it was all said and done, Lester had just 60 pounds of honey to show for his efforts, but he was successful in restoring the population.
As a reward of sorts, he got the chance to do something that he never had here in Mill Valley. His uncle let him pump some ammunition from shotguns, assault rifles, and pistols into a wooden obelisk.
Yes, Lester still coaches preschool gymnastics, but next time you see him around Tam remember these three words – Pennsylvania Kosher Farmer.