Friday, November 18, 2011

A Symbiotic Relationship

I've mentioned before that my dad grew up on a farm.  I loved going to visit my grandparents and wander up and down the rows of fruit trees or marvel at the beautiful colors of the farm stand.  One of the sites I remember, just downhill of the peaches I think, was a collection of white wooden boxes.  These were the beehives that lived on the farm.
Wildflowers a.k.a. bee food

A recent study by Food Safety News found that most honey you can buy in the grocery store doesn't actually contain any pollen.  What are these bees eating?  Apparently, a lot of the mass honey producers ultra-filter their honey prior to bottling so that customers can have nice, clear honey.  (That's the straightforward reason- for the conspiratorial reason you can check the article (whether or not the conspiracy exists is a moot point to me, I am actively uninterested in conspiracy theories)). 

The unfortunate thing about ultra-filtered honey is that pollen is a required ingredient of honey, as defined by the FDA.  Also, pollen adds enzymes and antioxidants which can be incorporated into your diet.  But most importantly (as far as I'm concerned), different pollens create different flavors of honey!  Why would we want a uniform honey taste when we could have clover or orange blossom or wildflower honey?

I always buy honey at the farmer's market from my local beekeepers - orange blossom is my favorite.  I like to support my local community, encourage bees around our farms, and eat locally.  These are the reasons I purchase local honey, but now I can add a desire for pollen-full honey to that list.  And that brings me back to the farm.

My grandfather wasn't a beekeeper and he didn't produce the honey that came out of the small colony of beehives.  A local beekeeper did.  Grampa provided the land and the pollen, the beekeeper provided the bees.  Crop fertilization on our farm was improved and a local beekeeper produced honey.  I think that is one of the better examples of a symbiotic relationship between humans I have ever found in real life.  Let's support that type of relationship and eat local honey.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...