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  (Miami, Florida)
A Honey of a Blog
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Piranhas with Wings

We had quite an adventure here the other day. We were busily getting ready for a television crew to arrive....They wanted to do an interview and shoot some footage of the bees in action. So of course, I wanted everything to be perfect.

Because we often have afternoon rains here in summer, I decided to suit up and go into the bees early in the day to take out several frames of honeycomb that we could later extract honey from while the cameras were rolling. I noticed right away that the bees were not their usual gentle, happy selves. First, I was stung twice, right through my bee suit. There was no honey in the top super in any of the hives, so I had to go down to the next level, where I found three big fat juicy honeycombs just perfect and ready to go. I took them off and got out of there, wondering why my gentle girls were so grumpy.....It was a nice sunny day, which usually puts them in a good mood.

When I remove frames of honeycomb and shake the bees back into the hive, not all of the bees come off. There's usually a little cluster of busy workers who don't notice me at all and keep right on working.

So what I do is put them in an empty super (wooden box), and wheel them via hand truck through the yard. I stop just a few feet short of my back porch door, put a little branch with leaves on it in the box, and then go do something else for a half hour or so. 

Typically, when I return, the bees have mostly gone home, and those who remain are happily perched on the branch. I remove the branch and shake it, and off they fly.

Typically.  This day, however, was anything but typical! While I was eating lunch, biding my time before removing the branch, I looked outside and it looked like maybe it was snowing (in Miami in July). There was so much movement in the air. What the....?????? No, wait, it was just a ton of bees. I went to the back door to peek, and there were hundreds, if not thousands, of bees darting in and out of the super by the back door. They were not out for a joy ride, either. They had purpose, and they were pissed.

I called my buddy Steve to share. He said that the heavy rains of the night before had washed all of the nectar and pollen out of the flowers and that the bees had no sources of either and would be very cranky until the next day. No kidding!

Just my luck! 45 minutes before a tv crew full of uninitiated strangers shows up, I've got a sky full of bitchy bees zooming around. Never happened in my life! Timing is everything! I did suit up again and rescue one of the honeycombs. The other two I left behind. It wasn't worth the risk.

Lucky for me it started raining as soon as the crew arrived. They did their interview, we demonstrated a number of processes, and by the time the monsoons stopped, the bees had gone home.

I did, however, walk over to my nice honey filled honeycombs and..... they were empty! The bees had torn off the wax cappings that protect the honey for storage. They had sucked out every last drop of honey on those combs. It looked like hundreds of airborne piranhas had stopped by for lunch. It was amazing.

And it reminded me, that for all my love and affection, the bees have a definite sense of purpose regardless of my plans.....

Point well taken, girls....I'll watch the weather carefully and not venture in the day after it rains, ever again... I promise!

 

 
 

Lychee/Longan Honey is Ready!

It's TIME!!!!!!!

The new crop of Lychee/Longan honey is ready. I'm about to harvest it today, and I can't wait to taste it! We wait all year for this!

Will keep you posted, but get ready! It goes fast..... 

 
 

Another Component of Colony Collapse Disorder.....Toxic Honeycombs

There are many theories circulating regarding Colony Collapse Disorder. When Steve and I were talking the other day, the subject came up again. WHY are millions of bees missing in action? 

Pesticide use is often cited as a primary cause. Bees are notoriously sensitive to pesticides. Some speculate that a chemical component is messing with the bees internal GPS and they are not being able to find their way home.

Some blame cell phones.

And here's another, rather sensible, theory. After continued exposure to pollutants and chemicals in the environment, the residues build up over time in the honeycombs themselves....the very structure where babies, nectar and pollen are stored become unfit to live in.

At a certain point of honeycomb toxicity, the bees decide, en masse, to evacuate and try their luck in another location. In places like Florida, where I live, this is not a bad move....there is almost always a tree, garbage can, or home where they can set up housekeeping and start again. In northern climes they fare not so well.....they'll abandon their hive and look for a new place to call home, but if the season is wrong, or local nectar is not available at that time, they will quickly perish.

Might it be prudent to change out the honeycombs more often and give the bees fresh new foundation to extrude new combs? Only time will tell... 

 
 

The First Honeyflow of the Year! Tropical Wildflower

We just harvested our first honeyflow for 2011. And a Happy New Year it is....60 lbs. of TROPICAL WILDFLOWER honey. It's delicious! All of our honey is RAW....comes out of the hive and into the honey jar....the only "processing" is to strain out the bees who insist on drowning themselves in sweet joy as we harvest the honey.

TROPICAL WILDFLOWER is what I always recommend to customers who suffer from seasonal allergies. Since it contains microscopic bits of pollen from the widest variety of sources it provides the most benefit.

I love it because it's so dynamic....it's flavor, color and viscosity changes throughout the year based on what's in bloom.

Our harvest was a bit smaller than expected, due to cold dry weather. Thankfully we just had a couple of days of rain and so the flowers should be nice and juicy with nectar.

Our bees love that! 

 
 

Farmers Markets Are Changing My Life!

Halfway between an organic circus and Woodstock, farmers markets are changing my life. The people, their energy, and all of this whole food are nourishing me in ways beyond my original expectation that this would be a decent venue for selling honey.

At FIU there's a free yoga class on the grass in front of my booth. Smoothies, veggie sushi and the whole university setting is relaxing and stimulating. And when I say I see people jumping through hoops, I'm not kidding.....They're using these for exercise, I guess, hoola hoop style, but then they roll them across the lawn and members of our farmers market take a running leap and dive through the rolling hoops. Not a bad backdrop for sharing samples of raw, local honey.

The Coconut Grove farmers market, where I am now all day on Saturdays, is a multicultural potpourri of tastes and smells. I've got wheatgrass on my right, old world soups on my left, and the wonderful Muslim woman from Indonesia who keeps feeding me. The children of the vendors do gymnastics in the dust of our wooded corner lot, and write the name of our products with sticks in the dirt in front of our booths. There's the "Salad Girl" who's about to give birth to, I think, her eighth baby.....while her other children keep me company, singing and playing with my iPhone and doing handsprings while I watch.  

Yesterday, two new guys from NY came to demonstrate their Thai deep tissue massage. With their feet!  When finished with my booth I happily laid down on the mat and let them walk all over me.... I feel great.

And so, I leave each days work with a little cash, and a heart full of love for my newfound gypsy tribe. I am well nourished, and the visitors to our market are nourished and nourishing as well.

 If you want to "share the love" check out the Coconut Grove Farmers Market on Grand Ave. (Miami, FL). It's open Saturdays from 10-7. Full details can be found at: http://www.glaserorganicfarms.com/market.html 

See you there! 

 
 

One More Bucket of Avocado Lychee!

Our Avocado Lychee honey doesn't stay in stock for long. Seemed like as soon as we announced we had some in, orders started pouring in from as far away as Thailand!!

Before I knew it, the honey was gone!

The good news is: We've got one more bucket on hand. I'm watching the level ooze down quickly, but at least we've got maybe another two weeks of Avocado Lychee to go before we run out.

For those of you who might not know....the honey does NOT taste either like lychees or avocados. This honey gains its name based upon the blossoms that provided nectar for the honey. It's dark and delicious, robust but not strong.......and tastes like honey, not the fruits that bear it's name.

 
 

Honey and Allergies! Nothing to Sneeze At!

Is it TRUE? Does honey really alleviate annoying allergy symptoms? Or is it an old wives tale?

There are so many "superfood" health claims out there, that I take most of them with a grain of salt. (Oh no, wait....forget the salt, remember the blood pressure!)

And that's what I mean! We tend to look at food as a collection of chemical properties, either for or against us. It really takes the joy out of dining! Typically I try to avoid this medicinal approach to food..... 

Which is why I initially hesitated to make the link between honey and allergies! But after many of my customers came back and reported huge improvement in their allergy symptoms when adding honey to their daily diet, I decided to give the thing a second look and see what's what.

Does it work? And if so....HOW? 

This is what I found:

Typical allergy symptoms....runny nose, drippy eyes.....result from an overexposure to a particular allergen. Often, regular allergy shots are the course of action used to minimize this.

If the allergen is pollen based, then hope in honey is well-founded. The bees collect both pollen and nectar, and tiny grains of pollen are present in your honey. Regular honey consumption acts as an immune booster and minimizes the reaction to the pollen. It works just like the allergy shots, but much cheaper and tastier!!

Here's the thing. In order to work, you need honey that contains the pollen that's getting to you. So the honey needs to be produced as close as possible to where you live. This ensures that the pollen from your neighborhood plants will be in your honey.

AND....the honey MUST BE RAW! Once heated, these benefits disappear.

So, got allergies? Raw local honey is your best bet.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? With honey....there's never too much!

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? A teaspoon or a couple of teaspoons a day will do it.

The best strategy is to have local honey for several weeks before the start of the allergy season. However, so many suffering customers came and got our honey as a last ditch effort in the middle of an onslaught of pollen-based misery....and they reported excellent results when they began this daily honey regimen.

Here in Miami I recommend the Tropical Wildflower honey for this because it contains the widest range of local pollens within itself. So find a local beekeeper, get yourself some raw honey, and put away your Kleenex.  Honey for allergies is nothing to sneeze at! 


 
 

Fresh From The Hive! 60 lbs. of TROPICAL WILDFLOWER Honey

The Fall honeyflow is ON. We're happy to have a sixty pound bucket of Tropical Wildflower honey, fresh from the hive....and with more on the way. I can smell ripening honey when I walk out my back door, and it smells good! Steve says that someday I'll be able to identify which flowers are blossoming by the aroma of the ripening honey, but I'm not that good yet!

I DO love the way that Tropical Wildflower honey varies from harvest to harvest, based on the combination of nectars that are available in the neighborhood at any given time.

This harvest is a nice medium amber. I think I'll go get myself a spoonful or two. I need the energy! Yum...

 

 
 

Come See Us in the Grove! Coconut Grove, That Is...

I've been thinking about checking out the Coconut Grove Farmer's Market for a long time. I was waiting for our sweltering Miami summer to end before exploring this option...

But Wednesday a friend of mine mentioned that he needed to have somebody cover his booth at the market so I offered my services.

Come and say hello! I'll be booth sitting at the Crackerman booth on Saturday, September 25th from 9 AM - 5 PM, weather permitting. The market is located at 3300 Grand Ave. in Coconut Grove.

Crackerman sells awesome organic crackers and German-style breads, along with great hummus and absolutely combustible hot sauce. 

We'll have a bunch of Avocado Lychee Honey on hand, too! 

Say you read my Local Harvest Blog, and you'll get $1.00 off your purchase!! 

Hope to see you there! 

 
 

Avocado Lychee Honey Back in Stock!!!

At long last, we have Avocado Lychee honey back in stock! We wait all year for this moment! This year's Avocado Lychee honey has a little bit of Longan in there as well. (For those who don't know, Longan's are a lot like Lychees, although the trees fruit more readily here in South Florida.)

This year's batch is a nice, full-bodied dark honey, although it's not nearly as dark as last year's.

It's syrupy and wonderful, and I love to keep a honey bear right next to my computer and give it a squeeze every so often, for an energy burst, instead of coffee!!!

There are a lot of you out there on the waiting list, patiently, expectantly hoping for this honey. Your wait is over!!! But get it while you can, it's in short supply!!!!!! 

 
 

Blast from the Past...The Ice Age, That Is!

Snow? Did somebody say "snow" ? I didn't see any, but the news reported that right in my neighborhood a few flurries fell yesterday. First time since 1977. Wish some fell on me.....I LOVE snow....

It's positively frosty this morning. I woke up before seven and ran out to turn the sprinkler on in the vegetable garden. The collards will be fine, but I want to save those cherry tomatoes!

I hurriedly picked three grapefruits and a lime, hoping to save them before those juicy little sacs inside froze and ruptured. I thanked the trees, as always, for their efforts, and then ran to the front to check on the flowers. Our impatiens have been glorious this season, but they weren't looking too happy. I watered the three beds and spoke kindly to them, hoping for the best. As I stood there watering, in my jammies and socks, I felt an unfamiliar sensation in my feet and hands. They were so cold they were...burning??? Wow!

Wind chill placed the temperature somewhere in the 20's early this morning. The magic number for the citrus is 28 degrees....which is apparently when the damage takes place, and the more hours spent at that temperature or below, the worse the damage will be.  

On the news, they were suggesting that you run out and buy orange juice before the price skyrockets.....

Here in Miami we don't have much in the way of commercial citrus groves...that's more up in the Central part of the state...I can't even imagine the effort and anxiety that's going on up there this weekend.  

Meanwhile, it's time to make something cozy; cocoa, hot tea, something. And I expect that my several million buzzing sisters won't be flying today. They'll be cuddling up and cleaning house and hive, waiting for later this week when nectar collecting will be an attractive option once more...

 
 
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