The importance of honeybees only just recently came into focus in the last 10 years. When entire colonies of honey bees started disappearing, the malady became known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Today, beekeepers will tell you that they don’t call it CCD anymore. It’s more like a perfect storm (pick 1 or 4) of mites, starvation, disease, and pesticides. Faced with the large-scale threat to honeybees, so important to the food chain, people started paying heightened attention to the issue—and the products so closely tied to honey bees, chiefly honey.
At the same time that CCD made honey production suffer, another movement gained popularity and influence: Buying local products.
In a return to the community-centric living, local food producers found themselves in strong demand at retail stores, much like they had experienced at farmers’ markets. Area events increasingly promoted area products. This made locally grown and produced honey a very popular item, versus the non-local mass-produced stuff that had perennially populated store shelves.
The third factor in local honey’s favor in support of the importance of honeybees was the rampant increase in the demand for organic, untreated, untainted, unaltered food. As stories proliferated about the poisonous effects of synthetically and genetically-modified foodstuffs, people started looking back to the basics—pure, unadulterated natural foods.
Of course, all of these “best practices,” “organic,” “natural” and “non-GMO” designations aren’t worth a tinker’s damn without great taste. This is where, for many years, mass-produced foods seemed to have an edge. Put in enough salt, sugar, MSG and “glutamates in disguise” and other palate-pleasing additives to any food, and it would go down easy. Everything from soups to syrups and peanut butter to potstickers was so loaded up with artificial ingredients that the real food got lost in the shuffle.
While tasty, these foods jacked blood sugars, clogged arteries, and destroyed healthy digestive systems.
Enter local honey producers making all-natural products. We had discovered the mother lode of opportunities. For my part, I wanted to ensure the purity of my product, we farm crops for the bees. It’s natural and raw. We don’t blend, colorize, infuse, pasteurize or boil it. It’s minimally filtered and kosher.
As for taste…well, we’ll let your palate tell the rest of that story.
Now that specialty food producers have gone from having a toehold to a foothold in the local marketplace, look for increasing varieties and options—a true return to growing local, buying local and consuming real food—not a chemical substitute.
Do you know that 1 of every 3 bites of food we take comes from a pollinated plant or an animal that depends on bee pollination?
If you are concerned about what to do to help local beekeepers—buy honey and hive products from them. And, learn more about how dying bees are affecting our lives.
Protect the bees:
- Sponsor a hive. Most beekeepers are not earning a profit on what you are buying from them. Ask if you can sponsor their hive. Create a neighborhood collection to encourage experienced beekeepers to keep more bees.
- Volunteer in a bee yard. Beekeepers could use help.
- Grow a pesticide-free pollinator garden in your community.
- Take a basic beekeeping class to see if this is a good hobby for you. Be prepared for hard work and lots of ups and downs until you figure out the rhythm of the bees.
The importance of honeybees
Enjoy wonderful raw artisanal and varietal Eastern Shore Honey from Waxing Kara honoring honeybees worldwide.