That bee buzzing around your plate full of meat at the picnic table or flying around your shoulder attracted to your yellow sweater may be a little annoying but in the larger picture those sometimes pesky little creatures are vital to our survival as the human species.
The informative magazine newsweek.com educates, “Just over a decade ago, beekeepers began reporting disturbing declines in honeybee populations. Bees, they said, were leaving the hive and not returning. The phenomenon, now known as colony collapse disorder, is alarming not only because of the central role bees play in plant life around the world—and thus most other life—but also because no one knew why the decline was happening or how to stop it.”
The connection to us of course is that plant life is vital in our food chain.
We wouldn’t want a substantial global bee colony collapse.
According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honey bee pollination was estimated at close to $200 billion in 2005. Shortages of bees in the US have increased the cost to farmers renting them for pollination services by up to 20%.
There is great news on the horizon.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honeybee populations are on the rise. As of April 2017, an estimated 2.89 million bee colonies existed across the U.S., an increase of 3 percent compared to April 2016.
“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.”… Saint Francis de Sales
We are very happy to hear that and if you are a lover of honey, especially raw honey, you should be happy about that as well.
Not only does it taste good but it can be great for our health.
The news worthy group healthline.com explains, “Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds. Some types of honey have as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals.
Free radicals contribute to the aging process and may also contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Studies show that polyphenols in honey may play a role in preventing heart disease.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that raw honey can act as a demulcent, or a substance that helps relieve irritation in the mouth or throat by forming a protective film.
We can speak to our own experiences where adding honey to hot tea while having the cold or flu absolutely made the situation more soothing and enhanced the recovery process.
In terms of honey’s benefits we are happy to hear that and we want to hear more.
At the informative site healthyeating.sfgate.com they add, “Compared to processed honey, raw honey contains a higher concentration of antioxidants, plant compounds, vitamins and minerals. The pasteurization and filtration process that removes debris, toxins and allergens, also reduces the nutrient concentration.
Additionally, 70 percent of honey is imported and to meet the high demand for honey, some of it is diluted with sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup. However, both raw and processed honey are nutritious when purchased from reputable suppliers.”
The last sentence is very important. Raw honey produced in the wrong hands can be very dangerous.
Honey intoxication is a well-documented illness, although a rare one, caused by grayanotoxins. These neurotoxins are naturally found in honey, but food processing reduces it to very small amounts that don’t usually cause problems.
As of this November 2018 writing, it is the holiday season and most of us love our cakes, pies and delicious beverages. Rather than adding sugar to them perhaps we should consider adding raw honey instead.
There are some wonderful harvesters and manufacturers of raw honey out there and while you should still do your research on their reputation, let’s meet a few of them.
“Growing up on his family’s farm in Northwestern Pennsylvania, Zeke Freeman gained an appreciation for homegrown fruits and vegetables and the rich heritage of artisanal food production. As an adult, he turned his passion for preparing food for family and friends into a full-time pursuit of the culinary arts.
Working as an advisor, Zeke repackaged Beehive’s honeys in clear, retro- inspired glass jars, earning recognition in Metropolitan Home’s Top 100.
In 2005, Zeke acquired majority ownership of Beehive Bee Products, re- launched the company as Bee Raw Honey, and expanded to become an Oprah, New York Times, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living-celebrated product line that is sold in some of the finest shops across the country.
Today, Bee Raw is more than a honey company, it is a way of life. Zeke has created a simple, beautiful line of the highest quality products and experiences, and the recipes and pairings to bring them to life.”
“SPENCER MARSHALL, was born in McMinnville, Oregon. His mother, Grace, & his father, Frank were both offspring of many generations of family farmers. Their families farmed wheat & grain, turkeys & cattle. If there was a crop to farm, I believe they farmed it. Spencer’s paternal Grandma loved bees. She had a few hives on their Yam Hill Farm. When Spencer saw his Grandma working the hives, his curiosity was aroused.
We At Marshall’s Farm have a hand-crafted approach to traditional honey production. Our Beekeeper Spencer Marshall Harvests small quantities of superior quality gourmet honey in the very special microclimates of the San Francisco Bay Area. Spencer searches out locations that support only a few hives but produce exceptional tasting honeys. The diverse & constantly changing seasonal blooms of the Bay Area (Eucalyptus, Star Thistle, Wildflower, Blackberry & others) produce floral nectars & pollens that differ greatly in taste, texture & color. Spencer harvests after each bloom, isolates the honey harvested from each apiary & thus creates the special flavor nuances & wonderful color variations in Marshall’s Farm delectably delicious honey.”
“GloryBee started in the family garage of Dick and Pat Turanski in 1975 with a dream of providing natural, healthy ingredients for the people of their town. Dick describes those early days as “a simple family honey stand, farming honey in the backyard and processing it in the back of the garage–the deep freeze even doubled as the sales counter”. Over forty years later, we are providing the highest quality organic and natural ingredients with the same spirit as those first years of business.
We strive to have the highest possible ethical and moral standards for ourselves and towards our customers
Our core values are faith, genuine relationships, healthy living, and stewardship. These core values help communicate who we are and provide everyone inside the company with a sense of purpose and meaning to guide their work.”
“We are just another Texas family wanting to make a difference. Well, ok, we have a few more kids than the average perhaps! But we want our kids to grow up knowing that our actions matter, that helping others is ALWAYS the best way, and that they can actually make a difference in this world.
I grew up in a family where half of my uncles were family-scale farmers. I watched as one by one they were forced to sell their farms and find a new way to live after being crowded out by conglomerates. The focus of the 1990s was price point, and they simply couldn’t make it work anymore. My wife also grew up with a father who owned a small business also shut down by cheap offshore pricing.
Fast-forward to 2017 where a new generation – my generation – understands that more than price matters. We want natural, pure, organic products again. Products like my uncles produced. But family-scale farmers like my uncles still have a challenge finding the right kind of buyer for their natural products.
That’s a big reason why we decided to start Go Raw Honey. Our vision is to build a space where other verified small family-owned apiaries can source their honey to people who know they are only going to get pure, raw, unfiltered honey made with care while helping support sustainable family-scale farming.”
We loved their personal stories and we sense that you did too. Our purpose in highlighting them is if you decide to purchase some raw honey, at least you should know who you are buying it from, their history and the standards that they live by.
In terms of enjoying raw honey, perhaps that is the greatest benefit of all.
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