Birds and The Bees.

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It feels like spring where I live.  Even though in most places this is still the heart of winter.  Flowers are blooming and birds are chirping.  I even saw a honey bee yesterday.

Bee-utiful!

They do so much for us, those little bees.  Recently I was shocked to learn that now honey is being used in scams (who knew there was super-expensive, ‘high-quality’ stuff that is in such high demand some people try to counterfeit it?) They do this by removing the pollen from the honey.

Say what?

I am not an expert, a farmer or know anything about bees.  And I certainly don’t pay $50 for a jar of exclusive honey.  But the thing that got me was by doing this, the black market honey is flooding our markets claiming to be something it is not (fraudulent ‘high end’ honey or run-of-the-mill).  And local honey producers, even small honey producers are being pushed out because imported honey is cheaper (due to the excess in other countries like China.)  So it’s not just happening in the ‘exclusive honey areas’ anymore.  Nobody can verify where it comes from, as they would need to test the pollen (which has been removed) to know if it came from a cactus flower in Texas, or an evergreen on the west coast.  With local and small farmers being pushed out, the bee populations could suffer.  In turn creating issues with pollinating crops and pushing the price of produce up.

imageWe NEED bees.  I would like them to stick around so I can grow things in my garden and be able to buy local farmers produce (and not pay $5 for an orange in the grocery store because there weren’t enough bees to pollinate the fruit and the crop was minimal.)  If the bees aren’t around to pollinate then we are all in trouble.

Long story short everything is connected.  Pay attention to your food.  Get close to the source.  Understand how things work together and become a part of that.  It’s really not that hard.  Even if the best you can do is try for the local or organic section at your grocery store.

Use your money to vote for things you believe in.

Maybe it’s the ethical treatment of animals, and buying off an actual butcher or farmer where you can get information about how the livestock is raised.  Or buying organic because you want less harm in the world (pesticides, herbicides etc.).  Or buying seeds or starter plants and starting your own garden.

I happen to know a local farmer, who has started her own bee colony.  I think I will ask about purchasing her honey.  My mother and aunt have done this for years, from a farmer who keeps bees in order to ensure his crops are pollinated.  They order them in 5lb buckets and keep it for months on end putting the little bit they use weekly in a jar in the pantry. And they are in Canada where the growing season is short!

Don’t change the world, get to know your world.  By better knowing where your food comes from you better know how you are fuelling yourself.  I don’t know if our honey producers are in actual trouble.  I have a hard time believing what I read now a days.  But I do know that I can get closer to actual local honey – so why wouldn’t I?

Since I like the birds, and the bees.

Here’s the link to the counterfeit honey article I read, in case you are interested.

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