I recently learned that my co-worker and friend, Larry Bunka, keeps bees in his backyard. His kids finance their annual class trips through the sales of the honey his bees produce, and since he lives within 1.5 miles of me, his honey is truly “local” to us…and so, I bugged and begged and pleaded with him to bring in a few jars and sell them to me. He did, and I bought two jars off of him for $10. Wrapped around the jars was this very sweet, charming, and educational writeup about “Neighborhood Honey.” I asked Larry for permission to reprint it here on my blog, as it contains some wonderful information that all holistic mothers would love to have, and he kindly agreed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you for trying our neighborhood honey. We hope you enjoy this local product produced right in your neighborhood.
Honey bee and neighborhood honey facts:
- Honey bees are becoming increasingly threatened. In the past decade, honey bee populations have dropped by over 40%. While entomologists try to help, most agree that the use of pesticides and commercial agricultural practices have contributed to this growing problem.
- Honey bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 40% of the crops we eat. Here in California, they play an even more vital role, where they contribute to the pollination of almost 60% of the crops grown [here].
- It takes the nectar from over 1 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey, and 10 pounds of honey are required to produce 1 pound of beeswax. Hence the expression, “busy as a bee.”
- A healthy, functioning beehive is home to between fifteen and twenty thousand bees. Sounds like a lot, but this many bees live in an area the size of a couple of large shoeboxes.
- Honey bees collect nectar and pollen from an area approximately 2-3 miles in radius from the hive – that means “local” is really “local!”
- Honey bees are quite docile. If left unbothered, most people don’t even notice them.
- Local neighborhood honey boxes help to rebuild stronger, healthier bee populations and bring color and vitality to the local neighborhoods they live in. Honey bees like variety and thrive on the diversity of plants that we grow in our gardens. In turn, we all benefit from the pollinating services honey bees provide, and our gardens beocme lusher and more productive. And yes, we get honey, too.
- Honey color, taste, and texture vary from season to season as the variety and volume of plants change. Spring honey is typically lighter in color (a clear amber hue) with a more floral quality, summer honey is slightly darker, and fall or winter honey is darker still with a richer, earthier flavor. Local honey picks up the character of the neighborhoods it comes from. These seasonal and local nuances are lost in commercially harvested honey, which is collected and stored in large vats that combine honey harvested from many regions (or even countries) over several months.
- Some people believe that consuming locally produced honey helps to relieve allergy symptoms.
- Honey is unique in nature in that it is a naturally anti-bacterial food. This means that it will never spoil. As long as it is kept in a clean, sealed container, honey has an indefinite shelf life. Edible honey has been discovered in tombs in Egypt, where it has been stored for several thousand years.
Cool, huh? Thanks again, Larry!