Archive | June, 2010

Honey Tasting Party at Home

24 Jun

After mountain biking, a few friends stopped over tonight for a honey tasting in celebration of National Pollinator Week. It was a motley affair filled with sweat, spice, and of course, honey.

The Menu

  • Cambozola with golden spring honey and cranberry pecan bread
  • Strawberries dipped in honey
  • Red Chile Honey Glazed Bacon
  • Honey Chipotle Grilled Chicken Thighs
  • Corn Quinoa with Mesquite Honey
  • Honey Roasted Apricots with Greek Yogurt, Pistachios and Lavender Blossoms (from Seasonal Fruit Desserts)


Albuquerque Councilors heart the honey bee

21 Jun
If the smiles on the faces of every single City Councilor were any indication, tonight’s honey tasting and Pollinator Week Proclamation was a beautiful success!
Preparing our honey tasting strategy before the Council meeting Beekeeper on the stand
ABQ City Council gives love to local honeybees ABQ City Council gives love to local honeybees
Thanks to Councilor Debbie O’Malley for issuing the proclamation and for inviting local beekeepers to share tiny jars of our urban honey. There were some serious good vibes for honey bees tonight and the supportive response was palpable in the council chambers.

Politicos Kick Off Pollinator Week in Albuquerque

20 Jun

It’s time to go hug a honeybee for National Pollinator Week.

Last week, Albuquerque Councilor O’Malley did just that — she donned a bee veil and came on down to the beehives I manage as a volunteer for City Open Space. We tasted a golden buttery honey right off the comb and talked about how bees contribute to our local economy (seriously, you can’t even ask the state question without honeybees). For me, it was an honor to share my hives with an elected official, especially one so concerned with quality of life in our city. Here are a few photos of “beekeeper” O’Malley and her crew:

"Beekeeper" O'Malley & her staff "Beekeeper" O'Malley
IMG_4022-1 IMG_4023-1
[View more photos]

Thanks to Councilor O’Malley, the week-long pollinator party is getting started with a honey tasting and proclamation during Monday’s City Council meeting. If you’re a beekeeper, friend of bees, or just a honey afficionado, come on down!

And if you can’t come tonight, consider checking out these other events occuring throughout Albuquerque.


Continue reading

We want the honey, Lebowski

14 Jun

Nihilists courtesy of Goldberg

Despite setbacks in the Valley, our Nob Hill hives are jamming. This weekend, we harvested 5 gallons of honey, rendering our kitchen a veritable storage unit for the Apocalypse (In case of peak oil or Doomsday, you now know where to find a cache of sweetener.)

It’s a gorgeous toasted-butter hue with flavors of backyard fruit trees and honey locust. You’ll find our Spring 2010 vintage on the menu this month at the James Beard-nominated restaurant, Jennifer James 101, and at the Pollinator Celebration on June 26. Ooh la la! I’m so excited.

So angry pesticide-spraying farmers be damned! I’m spreading a thick layer of honey on my toast this morning like a miniature revolution.

Or as they say, in the parlance of our times, “Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you.”

Vintage Spring 2010, Albuquerque

Yes, your pesticides are killing the bees.

10 Jun

It’s not that complicated really: If you spray your fields with pesticides, you kill the honeybees in our community.

Farmer Rasband sprays the fields.

Literally 10 yards from the hives

Piles of dead bees from pesticides earlier this spring

New bees dying on the landing board immediately after spraying

These photos were taken 10 minutes apart at hives in Albuquerque’s North Valley, near some of the poshest “country estates” in the city. Farmer Scott Rasband, owner of Rasband Dairy was out spraying his fields just yards from the beehives we manage as a public service for City Open Space who sells the honey to generate funds. The hives had already experienced a pesticide kill from Rasband’s spraying a couple weeks ago but 10 minutes after the spraying today, bees were perishing yet again on the landing board. Makes you wonder how he treats his cows, doesn’t it?

As I took the photo of Farmer Rasband, I attempted to puff up like a menacing Valkyrie but honestly, I just felt helpless and sad. Truly, to keep bees in these times is to live with a broken heart.

Chemical kill at one of the hives

Related articles:

Evidence That Pesticides Are Seriously Messing Up Our Honey Bees
USDA: Pesticides and the Honey Bee
Accountability: Pay Beekeepers When Pesticides Kill Their Bees
City Bees are healthier than country bees (because of pesticides)

Update 5/25/2012: It has taken almost 2 years, but today the City decided to require Rasband NOT spray herbicides or pesticides on this farm on Open Space lands.  Congratulations on the health of humans and bees nearby!

Need to move your bee hive? Here’s the lazy way.

8 Jun

Inspired by Bush Bees, we decided to ignore the standard admonition about losing bees if you moved your hive more than 2 feet but less than 2 miles. (The rule of thumb is that if you’re moving your bees across the yard more than 2 feet, you’ll need to move them temporarily out 2 miles away so they don’t fixate on the old location.)

Too much damn work.

Instead, when a neighbor seemed fearful about a hive near his fence, we happily offered to move it on the other side of the yard… that same night.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading

Honey Recipes: Apricot Almond Tart with Honey

6 Jun

The finished tart with our backyard honey

Bakers have been known to be quite snobbish about their almond tarts. When people ask if that’s almond paste in his tart, my favorite French chef in Albuquerque laments in a thick accent, “It’s not almond paste! It’s almond cream!” He’s genuinely hurt.

So for Bruno, we have a tart with bona fide almond cream, but this one is sweetened with honey rather than sugar making it even more lovely and floral and local.

Honey Almond Tart with Apricots

  • Recipe inspired by Tartelette
  • Makes one 8-inch-diameter or rectangular tart

The key to this recipe is the post-bake drizzle with honey. Make sure the honey used at this final step is a high quality floral honey, preferably one purchased at your local farmer’s market. Continue reading

Sweet! Google installs bee hives at its world HQ

5 Jun
The Google beehives

The Google beehives

While Facebook makes headlines this week with its cultish secret insignia, its more mature competitor Google consistently opts for the high road, installing for example, 4 new bee hives on its property in Mountain View, CA.

What a perfect match! Google & the bee hive: Both are (or create) systems where the aggregate of individual behaviors produces something otherwise impossible or uninspiring. Honey, in the case of the hive and brilliantly pragmatic tools or groundbreaking systems like Android, in the case of Google.

Me and my little hives tucked away on the edge of America are so grateful! Just think of all the high-profile attention these newest beekeepers will bring to the challenges facing honey bees in our modern world.