Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Asheville is Bee City, USA!

Council members voted recently to make Asheville the nation's inaugural Bee City, USA. In addition to the prestige of setting into motion what will hopefully become a larger movement across the country, Asheville's landscaping budget will now include a focus on bee-friendly plants. Also, we should expect to see many more educational programs devoted to bees, to raise the general awareness of the importance of pollinators to our agriculture and biodiversity. Congratulations to Phyllis Stiles for spearheading the project, and to all the other worker bees involved!

Check out this video for a news story on the vote, and to see some familiar faces from BCBC:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scandalous Sourwood Honey at NC Farmers Markets

Sourwood honey is the crème de la crème of honey produced in Western North Carolina. Its flavor is rich and light, and many honey enthusiasts consider it the best variety of honey available. This premium honey also commands a premium price; while other honeys can cost as little as $4/lb,  sourwood honey can sell for up to $15/lb.

Some dishonest vendors in WNC Farmers Markets have taken advantage of the demand for this commodity honey by falsely labeling honey as sourwood in order to inflate profits. When local beekeepers and honey lovers became suspicious, laboratory tests on random samples of honey from WNC Farmers Markets labeled as "sourwood" revealed many "funny honeys" that had little to no sourwood pollen whatsoever.

Local beekeepers achieved a victory against fraudulent vendors recently when the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services implemented new rules to prevent future mislabeling of honey at its five N.C. farmers markets, including the WNC Farmers Market in Asheville. As of June 1st, beekeepers and vendors at state farmers markets are required to keep records on the origin and production date of their honey. If they are unable to do so, or are caught falsely labeling honey, they can be banned from selling at these farmers markets in the future.

For more information, read the Asheville Citizen Times article here.