With Oak Park village board finally agreeing to bee hives, my dream of having some Apris Mellifera is getting closer. Recently a book called The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus came across my radar and wanted to share a few tidbits from it. As we have all heard, the bees are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder. Things like cherries, almonds, watermelon and apples are just a few of the crops suffering due to loss of pollination. The treating of the hives has turned to such harsh measures that in 2002, China was banned from importing their honey to the U.S. Chloramphenicol Antibiotic (highly toxic) was found in samples being imported. Unfortunately after that ban, countries such as Singapore and Vietnam, who had no bee industry are now reporting to import 2.9 million pounds of honey into the U.S.
So what is causing the colonies to collapse? No one knows yet, however there is a lot of speculation. One thing I did take away from the book was that our little bee friends live only 6 weeks. I quote from Hannah, ” There are a lot of crops to pollinate and too many miles between them. Riding in trucks and eating fake flowers and living in a constant state of natural or artificial peak bloom can take it out of a bee. At times beekeepers have to rely on low-cost corn syrup to help bees survive lean times. They pump syrup into hives from 300 gallon tanks with gasoline nozzles. Research is showing that bees are suffering from the same kind of malnutrition afflicting humans who eat processed junk food.” The man she interviewed from the story went into a ‘dollar-type’ store and took a bottle of honey off the shelf, turned it upside down and watch the bubbles rise to the surface. This he said is what happens when corn syrup is added to honey after it is removed from the hive. A bottle of pure 100% honey takes minutes for one single bubble to rise to the surface. It really angered me to hear that now companies are adding corn syrup to honey. What a joke! I’m fortunate to get Stover’s raw honey at the farmer’s market and in a small part help the cherry trees get pollinated on their farm.
Bubbles….I do love champagne or sparkling wine. This past weekend was the Dose Market. A little over 20 food vendors were there such as Black Dog Gelato, City Provisions, By M Desserts, and Rare Bird Preserves. And none other than Grant Achatz from Aviary was pouring a crafty mix of strawberry/Thai Basil/long pepper topped off with Domaine Chandon. Great fun! Also tried an iced 2009 Vintage Sicilian Blood Orange Pu-erh from Rare Tea Cellar.
This weekend was the perfect weather for a BBQ! Corn on the cob, flank steak with bloody mary tomato salad, spiced zucchini, Thai marinated prawns with chilli dipping sauce, hot-and-sour cucumber salad, jalapeno poppers, Hebrew National hotdogs, and the drink….habanero infused grapefruit margaritas!