Sunday, July 25, 2010

Learning about Honey (and Bees)

My maternal grandmother ate honey every day. If she didn’t have it on her toast in the morning, she’d stir a spoonful into a cup of tea in the afternoon or she’d drizzle it on a scoop (or two) of ice cream before bed. She swore it kept her healthy.

Much to her chagrin, I never got the honey love—maybe because I ate it only when I was sick and it became a bad association for me. Add to that an allergy to bee stings, and honey has been one of those foods I’ve just never been that interested in. Until yesterday.

I went to the Minneapolis Farmers Market (a little late when it was SUPER crowded) and talked to the guy at the Ames Farm Honey booth about bees and honey. They specialize in single source honey – meaning their honey is “collected over a specific time period from a unique geographical location from a single hive.” (Most honey we get in grocery stores is blended honey—honey that comes from a variety of flowers.) They have over 300 hives in 17 locations around central and southern Minnesota. I had been wondering what the honey from the Anise Hyssop in my garden would taste like. The guy told me I’d need to have a whole lotta hyssop (like an acre) to figure that out.

I learned that the bees from Ames Farm stay in Minnesota—even in the winter—where they stay huddled around the queen in the hive. Who knew?! The bees don’t get loaned out to other states. He hasn’t experienced colony collapse disorder.

I found it fascinating and well worth braving the crowds for. I didn’t purchase any honey yesterday, but was tempted, and there’s still a lot of summer left! So, it could happen.

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