National Honey Bee Day is coming up on August 19th and we are showing our appreciation of these powerful little pollinators with a sweet celebration at Dante. All week long we will feature honey-focused menu items with honey and/or honeycomb from the local (and buzzworthy) apiary, Fruit of Levine. Dont forget the drinks! Dante bartender, Dustin Doran, has dreamed up a variety of handcrafted honey-infused cocktails for the week, including a collaborative cocktail called The Honey Cove from our friends, The Gastronom.
WHY ARE BEES AT RISK?
A recent article in Time magazine stated that more than 700 North American Bee species are headed for extinction, and they aren’t the only ones raising the alarm. The US Fish and Wildlife service listed the rusted patch bumble bee as an endangered species for the first time after noting a 90% decline in population since the 1990s. While there are other pollinators and bee species that help with pollination, bumble bees account for pollinating 1/3rd of all United States crops and many wildflowers. That’s no small feat and it’s hard to imagine that these humble little bumble bees, along with 47 other bee species in the US and Canada, are facing the risk of extinction. No one is certain as to why the bee populations are in such decline but speculation includes pesticides, viruses, poor nutrition and parasites among the likely causes. Many local and national groups are trying to do everything possible to encourage bee protection and research.
WHY WE LOVE HONEY BEES AT DANTE
Without honey bees, the variety of local ingredients we use at Dante would diminish because most of the world’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables rely on bees and other pollinators in order to produce the delicious food varieties we harvest. Not only do we love bees for their pollination of the foods we love, they also create one of Chef Nick Strawhecker’s favorite ingredients, honey. “I use raw honey and honeycomb as a condiment but also as an ingredient in dishes because it’s delicious, versatile and healthier than sugar,” said Chef Strawhecker. “I read an article where they found honey in Egyptian tombs that was 2,000 years old and it was still edible. Honey is a super food with no shelf life which is fascinating.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
While not everyone is cut out to be a beekeeper, there are some things many of us can do to try to support the bee population. From planting bee-friendly flowers, herbs and plants and avoiding the use of harmful pesticides on your lawn and garden, to supporting local beekeepers (and their hives!) by buying raw local honey, you can have a positive impact on our local bee population.
LEARN MORE AT THE BEASPORA
If you love honey and want to know more about our partnership with Fruit of Levine, check out Jenna Gabrial Gallagher’s fantastic blog, The Beaspora. She recently spent a day at the farm with beekeeper Mike Levine and his wife Jodi to learn the secrets of how they keep their bee population happy and healthy and how they produce their amazing honey for Dante. We also invite you to come by this week and take advantage of our special honey menu and cocktails at Dante. It’s going to bee amazing!