Who can possibly remember when they first had it? The fact is it’s ever present. It’s very good for you in many ways, it never goes rancid or bad and yes, it’s very sweet. My worry is that I had heard that “killer bees” were decimating honey bees worldwide and that without bees there would be no life left on earth.
Is that what took the dinosaurs in the past? Where do bees come from and what do they do? Will I be able to continuously put honey in my tea? So I headed over to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where the National Honey Board held a media event and grilled a couple of board individuals on some serious questions. I needed to know if we are in trouble and where my honey would come from in the future.
The issue at hand is CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) which actually is more of a syndrome. Preliminary research points to stress, viruses, climate change, immune deficiency and cell phone usage as primary reasons for the decline in the population of bees worldwide. Less bees, less honey, and that’s what the board is reporting.
The U.S. has been forced to import more honey than ever before due to diminishing production levels in the homeland. Perhaps we should talk less on our cell phones; perhaps we should spray fewer pesticides. Sting my behind anytime you want, but I need my honey and we need these bees for pollination. Without pollination, our food supply vanishes, get it?
Bruce Wolk, Director of Marketing for the National Honey Board brought me the good news that the so-called “killer bees” (actually Africanized bees) also produce honey and account for most of the organic honey that we import from Argentina. The National Honey Board website links to a multitude of sites that will tell you everything about honey that you ever wanted to know. The organization raises funds for research, promotes use of honey and organizes honey cooking competitions. I asked, “Did you guys have anything to do with the recent bee-themed movies, Bee Movie and The Secret Life of Bees?” And the answer was, “Yes, we were sponsors.”
Funding for the National Honey Board comes from honey bottlers and importers. An interesting fact I picked up is that worker bees live for only 45 days while queen bees live up to three years. Although bees can travel up to five miles, they usually hover in a very restricted perimeter. Which is why, by using different blooming cycles and moving hives around, you can get wildflower honey in the spring and orange blossom honey later on.
Throughout the informal interview, Bruce and I sampled delicately prepared honey-laced dishes by local and natural food product user, chef Neil Fraser of Grace fame, all washed down with honey-based cocktails. I also learned about honey nutrition facts from Mitzi Dulan, RD and even got a honey facial from Christopher Watt Esthetics salon—famous for its celebrity clientele. All products used for the facial were made in a blender right on the spot using fresh fruit and… honey. What a sweet time it was.
Christopher Watt Esthetics in West Hollywood is a favorite celebrity spa. His clients include Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez and Rose McGowan. If you would like to try the honey facial I got at home, here is the recipe:
Honey and Gold Luxe Facial
1/3 cup pure honey
1/4 cup papaya, peeled, seedless
1 Tbsp. Chamomile tea
24-karat gold leaf sheets
Mix together honey, papaya, banana and Chamomile tea until blended. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove, and apply gold sheets to entire face and neck. Leave gold on face for 15 to 20 minutes, and rinse with water. Apply your favorite moisturizer.
Note: Remember to use only 24-karat gold and all-natural honey.