Tag: honey

The Buzz: Oak Hill Honey

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Oak Hill Honey an apiary in Baltimore

Go local, right? Tell that to a bee. Those tiny creatures will travel up to five miles to collect just the right pollen to bring back to the hive. They’ll even bypass plants and flowers closer to home in order to find pollen that offers the exact nutrients they’re looking for. Sure, five miles might not seem like much, but it’s the equivalent of a human traveling 3,885 miles for a few sandwich fixings. We’re pretty sure we did that math correctly. Anyway…

The point is, regardless of how labor intensive the honey-making or how far flung the pollen-collecting, if our buzzing little friends make their home in Baltimore, we’re calling that honey local. Extremely local. One small and newish apiary operating within the city limits is Oak Hill Honey. The hives live right in the middle of Baltimore City, at two separate locations. The honey is harvested and packaged by beekeeper Dane Nester, an artist also engaged in the urban farming and local food movements here in the city. Though Oak Hill Honey is still a fairly small operation, you can pick up some of its sweetness at local farm stands and markets.

Oak Hill Honey is available at the Waverly Farmer’s Market, Hidden Harvest Farm, and at Milk & Honey. For more information, visit www.oakhillhoney.com.

What’s the Buzz: Beehives Burgeoning in Baltimore Backyards

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Courtesy of Bmore Media – Charm City has long been known for its towering constructions of wacky hair, but now we’ve got a new buzz.

Beehives – the kind filled with honey – are popping up in backyards.

“It’s embarrassing how trendy I’m being,” beginner beekeeper Sarah Smette says.

Smette’s face lights up as she talks about her nascent hobby. Apparently, bee stings aren’t the only dangers of keeping bees. The Arcadia resident is obsessed, and she’ll be the first to tell you.

“I Google. I’m always reading. I’m buying bee gear. I’ve got a dozen blogs bookmarked. I listen to bee podcasts.”

For Smette, it started on an impulse. A three-week class on keeping bees at the Park School of Baltimore allowed her to hit the ground running. Midway through the class, she’d ordered her bee package, a shoe-box-sized starter hive from Georgia. By the third week, the swarm arrived ready to move into their new home. The hive looks like a displaced file cabinet squatting amongst her azaleas.

For the thrill — and the environment 

Smette is not alone in her passion.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has registered 1,751 beekeepers, with roughly under 12,000 colonies in 1,800 locations.  According to state apiarist Jerry Fischer, Baltimore alone was home to about 29 registered beekeepers keeping more than 100 colonies in 45 locations as of February.

 

Read more at Bmore Media

Baltimore Alternatives to Tainted Chinese Honey

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If you’re buying honey in cute little Winnie the Pooh-shaped bottles, or if you think you’re saving money by getting the sweet stuff at Rite Aid or Walgreens, you may want to reconsider. Recent studies have found that more than a third of the honey consumed in the U.S. has probably been smuggled in from China, despite a ban by the FDA. And that much of the honey sold here has had its pollen filtered out — which hides its origins and makes it (technically) not honey at all. Honey of suspect origins may be tainted with antibiotics, heavy metals, or who knows what else. Three-quarters of grocery store honey had all its pollen removed; 100 percent of drug store honey had no pollen.

So what’s a honey lover to do? Lucky for Baltimoreans, there’s a small but vibrant honey culture happening right under our noses. Here’s a few ways to get honey that’s for sure not from China — because it’s from right down the block:

  • Baltimore Honey is essentially a CSA for bees. A membership share is $45, and gets you a pound of micro-local, organic raw honey. Sign up soon; spots are limited.
  • Really Raw Honey is a Baltimore-based network of family beekeepers across the country. Their honey is available online, and at fancier grocery stores citywide.
  • Given its name, no surprise that Mt. Vernon’s Milk & Honey Market sells small batches of honey by local hobby beekeepers. Some are kind of pricey, but once you start with quality honey, you’ll never go back.
  • Become a beekeeper yourself! Make friends with the bees, harvest your own honey, and know exactly what you’re eating. Info on supplies, beekeeping courses, and Baltimore’s bee laws here.

 

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