Kendal's Bees: Raw Local Honey
One of the most amazing tools in nature is the honey bee. Ambitious, hard working insects, pollinating 1 out of 3 bites of the plants we eat, and creating a delicious edible nectar. Not only is honey edible, but it's healing benefits have been recognized for centuries.
Ancient Egyptians used honey to treat wounds with it's antimicrobial properties. Honey has been used in Ayurveda, a holistic, medicinal practice for over four thousand years to treat imbalances in the body, and the Quran praised the healing abilities of honey 1400 years ago.
When using honey medicinally we need to look at 2 things. 1. The honey must be raw so the natural enzymes are alive and active. Most commercial honey is not only heated too high but it is often cut with corn syrup.
2. The honey should be local. When bees draw from the same pollen that you're breathing in from your environment, consuming small doses of the pollen has been anecdotally seen to reduce allergic symptoms. Besides, even if you're not convinced about the pollen, local is important to reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Raw is easy, you can find this in almost any grocery store, and definitely at your local health food store.
One of my favorite uses for raw honey is for a cough or sore throat. The Mayo Clinic explains over the counter cough syrups are not recommended for children under 2 yrs and none of them have been proven to be effective. Warm honey tea however works like magic.
2. Local is easy too if you hit up your local farmer's market. This is how I met Kendal Sager, a backyard beekeeper and educator running Kendal's Bees.
Kendal's Bee's is a beautiful, little, sweet spot dedicated to raising and supporting anywhere from 50,000-300,000 bees depending on the height of the season. She built the colorful hives below on her backyard deck in Los Altos, CA.
I visited Kendal's Bees on a warm afternoon and watched the buzzing insects head back to their hives before dark. She joked that a few will always miss curfew and make a few laps around the hives. Bees use landmarks to find their home and some come home drunk with nectar.
She opened the lids and described the difference between the early nectar and the older sappy honey. The larvae, the baby bees, and of course the queen. She pried the slats out due to bee "glue" used to seal off their workspace from germs. It's a fascinating process that would make a great class for newbie keepers.
Kendal leads a class in honeybees at her local farm, Hidden Villa in Los Altos. If you would like to invite Kendal to your child's school, she is an educator at heart. She will bring the small white bee hotel in the front of the top photo, her special outfit, and a world of fascinating information. For example did you know a bee's lifespan in the heat of summer can be as little as 6 weeks? You can find Kendal on her website, Kendal's Bees.
Kendal runs a pretty small operation, but she does have some pretty cool gifts. I bought pure raw honey because I teach a great deal and nothing soothes my voice better than warm honey tea. She also sells homemade honey lip balm and infused honey.
When I met Kendal I could tell right away she was not selling gifts to make a huge profit. She simply loves raising her bees and tries to offset the cost with handmade gifts from her own honey. What Kendal adores is educating the public about bees; I hope to bring her to my child's class soon!
Many of our Food Foundation friends are not in the San Francisco bay area. Do you have a local bee keeper that you could share with us? Please list them in the comments below.