One of the Memphis Farmers Market’s goals is to educate the public about foods and the way they are produced. Each week the market features vendors who make a presentation about some aspect of producing foods on their farm. This week, Peace Bee Farm was asked to discuss how honey is produced. The farmers market also invited a nutritionist from The University of Memphis to be available to visitors to the market. She was quite knowledgeable of the use of honey, as she had employed it in designed nutrition programs for individuals with diabetes. The audience was quite interested in how the honey bees make honey and how we remove it from the hive and handle it before bringing it to market. They were amazed at the idea that it takes the bees two million flower visits to produce one pound of honey. They greatly underestimated the combined miles of honey bee foraging flights to produce this pound of honey. It’s 55 thousand miles, more than twice the distance around the earth at the equator!
Those attending the honey presentation had many questions about honey and the bees. They were most interested in cooking with honey, so I suggested that they visit the National Honey Board’s web site, http://honey.com/, for recipes and information about substituting honey for other sweeteners. The web site also gives information about adjusting the oven temperature when cooking with honey to control the browning of the foods. The audience described honey as being both tasty and healthful. There were questions about what is considered raw honey, a product in great demand. I explained that none of our honey is heated or filtered. My assistant smoking the training hive is Samantha, who came to the market with her family. She handled the smoker like a seasoned beekeeper.