The Honey Controversy

the Bee and Me Honey

At a show I attended as a vendor this weekend, Fleece and Fiber Fest, I was asked the question "why do we NOT give infants under the age of 12 months honey?"  I get asked this question a lot. It seems that family physicians tell moms not to feed their infants honey but neglect to tell them why.
Health Canada and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA) recommends that raw honey not be given to children under the age of one (12 months)  Raw honey MAY contain botulism spores that are harmless to older children and adults but can cause fatal effects in the immature digestive system of an infant.
However, it is important to remember that people from around the world been giving their babies honey for centuries, safely.  The trouble MAY be the methods used today to raise bees and the pesticides that are sprayed abundantly on flowers, the bees food source.  So play it safe and do not give infants under the age of 12 months honey.

Also this weekend my family and I like to listen to Stuart McLean on CBC Radio on Sunday's on our way home from church.  For those of you who have never heard of Stuart, he is one of Canada's most beloved storytellers and a best selling author.  He travels across Canada and the US  with his show The Vinyl Café.  His stories are humorous with a serious side.  This weeks story was about bees.  Have a listen.  The story is called "Rosemary Honey" (May 25th) Enjoy!

And don't forget to get to you local farmers' market this weekend.  Asparagus is still available and strawberries are on the way! Support local growers.

Meet a Local Farmers’ Market Vendor

Through out the summer months I would like to introduce you to some of the fabulous vendors at the different farmers' market we attend.  Many of these vendors have started their own business from scratch, creating or growing products to bring to the market place.

The Bee and Me Blog -Hearts- and BonesThis week I would like to  featured  Sandra from Hearts and Bones Organic Dog Biscuits. Sandra is a vendor at the Sherway Farmers' Market in Etobicoke, Ontario.  This is the second year Hearts and Bones has been attending this market and the response from dogs and people has been excellent. Sandra is committed to making treats that you can trust from ingredients that are sourced locally as much as possible.  All of her ingredients are certified organic and are produced in North America; many are Canadian.  With flavours like Live, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin and Cheddar, your pet is sure to find one he will love. Hearts & Bones Organic Dog Biscuits is proudly made in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bee and Me Blog - Hearts- and Bones And new for this year Sandra has added  natural laundry soap and cat nip packaged in adorable burlap bags stamped with whimsical images.  Bring your dog to Sherway Farmers' Market on Friday's from 8 am - 2 pm  and take home some delicious Hearts & Bones Organic Dog Biscuits for your pet.

What's in season at local Farmers' market this time of the year.  Local grown Ontario asparagus.  I picked up a few bundles and our family enjoyed grilled fresh asparagus at our family gathering this long weekend.  I have posted the recipe taken from Edible Toronto. I used our very own Golden Wildflower Honey but I think Blueberry Honey would  be just as delicious. I grilled our asparagus but it could easily be roasted in your oven. Give it a try!
Local Ontario asparagus is available at your local farmers' market til mid June.

Makes 4 to 6 servings5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp the Bee and Me Golden Wildflower Honey

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves

2 pounds Ontario asparagus, washed and trimmed ½ tsp kosher salt

Place a large cake-cooling rack over the grates of a gas grill. (This will prevent the asparagus spears from falling through the grates. I keep a rack specifically for this purpose.) Preheat the grill on high.

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lime juice and honey until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the mint; set aside. In a large shallow pan, toss the asparagus with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt to coat thoroughly.  Reduce the grill heat to medium-high. Gather together all of the asparagus spears in one bundle and place them onto the rack. Spread out the asparagus in a single layer. Cover the grill and cook until the asparagus is well grill-marked on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn each asparagus spear over and cook until the asparagus is tender and just slightly limp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter. Pour over the dressing and toss gently to coat the asparagus. Delicious served warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated. (Surprisingly, both the asparagus and the mint retain their green colour after several hours of refrigeration.)

To roast the asparagus: Place the oil-tossed asparagus in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in a 450º F oven, tossing the asparagus once or twice, until the asparagus is tender and just slightly limp, about 10 minutes.


The Buzz on Bees

bee-on-dandelionBees are the most important of all our pollinators.  Birds pollinate, bugs pollinate, but bees make the biggest contribution.  Approximately one-third of all human food is prepared from plants that depend on bees for pollination.  Bees come in different sizes and shapes and Canada is home to approximately 800 species.  When people think of bees, most think of the honey bee.  And if you have ever been stung by an honey bee you know how aggressively it will defend its nest.  The honey bee was introduced to Canada from Europe almost 400 years ago.  Treasured for its natural raw honey production, beeswax and other products it is used by many farmers right here in our area for crop pollination.  Apples and soft fruit in the Niagara Region and berries here in Haldimand County, from where we get our blueberry honey are all crops that depend on the humble honey bee for pollination.

You may have seen some of the more native bees such as the bumble bee or the mason bees buzzing around in your yard.  Going from flower to flower collecting pollen and a thin sweet liquid called nectar that is the honeybee's lifeline.  Unlike their cousins the honey bee which share labour and care taking of its young, the majority of these native bees prepares her own nest, provides her own food (pollen and nectar) for offspring and lays her own eggs.

The Bee and Me HoneyIn future post we will be talking about what you can do to draw bees to your yard with bee-friendly plants and drinking stations.

Bees and bees alone have freely offered food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics to our human population for thousands of years.  Now is the time to appreciate what they have done and provide an environment to keep them healthy and prosperous.  We can begin by supporting organic farming which avoids the use of insecticides, and planting nectar-rich wildflowers giveing these wonderful creatures all the help they deserve.
And we can buy raw unprocessed honey, packed full of life-enhancing ingredients, at health-food stores, online and at farmers' markets.


What is Raw Honey

One question we get often from our customers, is "what is the difference between raw honey and regular honey?"  The term raw honey can be confusing, isn't all honey raw?  Apparently not! The taste of our raw honey has a freshness all its own.  Raw honey is never filtered or heated.  Just extracted from the honeycomb, strained out using a wide stainless-steel mesh--never filtered.
What heaven to see luscious golden honey in its unadulterated  form ready to be bottled soon after it is collected from the hive.  Honey in a jar just as the bees made it, looks and tastes wholesome and is the best thing for your health.  Humans have been eating and enjoying raw honey for centuries and reaping the health benefits found naturally in raw honey.

Supermarket honey is ultra pasteurized the same way milk is. Not only does pasteurization remove pollen, it also removes a wealth of nutrients naturally found in raw honey.  In the first stage of this process, honey is heated to around 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  This heat treatment keeps honey liquid in its jar on the shelf.  It is then put through a very fine filter which removes most of the pollen and nutrients like enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants and antibacterials.  So pasteurized honey (supermarket honey) is denuded, transformed into a super-heated, good looking sugar syrup!
So look for the words "raw" or "unpasteurized" on the label to ensure you are getting the real thing.
Raw honey is like eating honey from the comb without the comb.  You use raw honey the same way you use regular honey.  It becomes solid after it has been pours into jars but will dissolve in warm beverages and spread beautifully on warm toast.  Our family likes to put it in smoothies or just have a spoonful.The-Bee-and-Me-Raw-Honey Raw honey is also loaded with natural bee pollen that may help with pollen allergies.  Taking a little bit of raw honey every day, about a tablespoon per day, helps your body to build a resistance to the pollens that are causing your allergies.  We have a lot of customers who have very good results with taking a little bit of honey everyday to help relieve allergy symptoms.  Try giving it to your pets as well to help with their allergies.
Raw honey, unfiltered, unpasteurized, unprocessed, naturally delicious.