(Lessons from a Beekeeper Master, aka my Dad)
I became accustomed to eating really good honey (you know the kind with the honeycomb in it?) when my dad was actively involved in beekeeping when I was growing up. We had the best honey for years. I used to think all honey was as good as Dad's, but boy have I learned differently.
Dad was named “Beekeeper of the Year” by the Texoma Beekeepers Club in 1984. I still have that Denison Herald article. This reward was voted on by secret ballot and was based on interest, enthusiasm and progress made during the year. I learned that Dad got a lot of his beekeeping knowledge by attending an annual bee seminar that Texas A&M hosted in Savoy, Texas. Three Ph.D. entomologists always taught his seminar and he attended with his good friend Mr. McKnight.
The wonderful news is that at the age of 90 Dad has the same enthusiasm he had years ago in everything that has to do with bees. There is rarely a time I am at home that we don’t have a bee conversation. I’ve actually started recording these valuable bee lessons and more importantly, the quality time with my dad. He is so witty and so knowledgeable--and he can really talk. Hmmm, I wonder where I got that from?
When I was home last month, Dad and I went out in the barn and started looking through some of his bee equipment. It was too hot to stay out there long, but I was amazed at how much of his bee equipment Dad still has. I saw his full bee suit with the big helmet, racks, the little box that they queen bee would be mailed in (that’s a real interesting story). When the weather cools down a bit, we are going to dig out all of his equipment. I’ll be sure and share the pictures.
Since I now have to purchase my own honey, one particular honey I’ve grown to enjoy is from a company called Pacifica, which I discovered during one of my many LA visits. Pacifica Honey is only available in California and Nevada. They make the raw, unheated, unpasteurized honey like my siblings and I were accustomed to eating. They also make a variety of flavored honey like Sage, Coastal California Wildflower, and, of course, one of my favorites is their basil honey.
I always pick some up when I’m in LA. I recently picked it up at Bristol Farms in West Hollywood. I’ve also seen it in some of the Whole Food stores there as well as Gelson’s Market.
If interested, here’s a link Pacifica Honey. http://www.honeypacifica.com.
For my Texas friends, here’s a link to where you can find great honey in Texas. http://www.honey.com/honey-locator/find/state/texas
Health Benefits of Honey
One of the best types of honey for medicinal purposes is Manuka Honey. It’s pretty expensive at about $36 a jar, but so well worth the benefits. Adding a couple of teaspoons a day to your diet does wonders.
Did you know that honey protects against damage caused by bacteria? Some honey also stimulates production of special cells that can repair tissue damaged by infection. In addition, honey has an anti-inflammatory action that can quickly reduce pain and inflammation once it is applied.
But not all honey is the same. The antibacterial quality of honey depends on the type of honey, as well as when and how it's harvested. Some kinds of honey may be 100 times more potent than others.