The tell-tale signs of spring are here. The cherry blossoms on campus, dozens of students relaxing on Memorial Glade and the Bay Area’s beautiful blue skies. To me, a Saturday spring-time farmer’s market spree sounds like a perfect way to enjoy the new season and browse through the stalls.
One vendor that is bound to catch my eye is the local honey stall, Miss Bee Haven Honey. They sell honey, beeswax and beeswax-based personal care items such as soap and lip balms. Across seven different locations in the San Francisco East Bay, this vendor raises bees in natural settings, creating unique batches of honey.
Additionally, I’ve always heard that local honey could help with allergies, prompting me to look into the fact. Unfortunately, it seems to be a myth that local honey could help with seasonal allergies. But, there are other health benefits to local honey including soothing a sore throat.
In fact, there are lots of benefits of local honey, ranging from health to the environment.
- Sleep: Busy midterm season? Need a good night’s sleep? The Farmer’s Almanac suggests a spoonful of honey before bed to catch some relaxing z’s.
- Local Pollination: As with most locally sourced food items, purchasing local honey provides some environmental benefits. The process of cultivating bee populations to produce honey benefits the surrounding wildlife because when beekeepers release bees for pollination, they flock to nearby plants. Additionally, pollination by honey bees reduces the need for artificial fertilizers.
- Local Businesses: Buying local honey can help sustain the bee populations themselves. Supporting local businesses helps beekeepers take care of healthy bee populations.
However, there are still concerns with the overall honey industry including managed bees-competition with wild bees for resources. Concentrating our support on local businesses with sustainable practices can hopefully show that consumers’ interests lie in sustainability. The University of New Hampshire has resources on sustainable beekeeping; some techniques include getting a deeper understanding of bee anatomy, knowing when to harvest honey and understanding the impacts of environmental conditions, such as drought periods and winter. More and more beekeepers are looking into sustainable beekeeping practices such as growing nuclei colonies so that there are always extra bees in the hive.
This spring, I hope to enjoy the sun, the farmer’s market and investing in sustainable food choices. Being environmentally conscious is a process of constant learning and evolution and I hope to be further challenged this season.