The SouTh Fork iS SweeT on SeaSonal, locally produced honey, FreSh From The hive.
by matthew wexler
he Hamptons is buzzing about the importance of one of our greatest natural foods—honey. This is good news since the latest reports about honey sting: More than half of US honey consumption (410 millionpounds per year total) is imported, much of it from China. And without a national honey standard or definition by the Food and Drug Administration,the imported product may contain traceable amounts of antibiotics andlead. Add colony collapse disorder into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe that isn’t so sweet. Fortunately, Hamptons beekeepers are part of a growing trendto preserve the artisan craft of beekeeping and honey production.Mary Woltz, founder of Bees’ Needs, says that she sells honey to support herbee habit. She arrived on the East End to manage bees for the HamptonsHoney Company in 2003, and when the company expanded to meet demand, Woltz took over the local hives, and Bees’ Needs was born. In high season, shespends seven days a week tending to her 84 hives, but she believes that thebees’ welfare, along with the resulting premium product and appreciation of her customers, is worth it. “My honey changes with the seasons,” says Woltz. “It will be light and delicate in the spring and more complex throughout thesummer. And I can tell you which hive every jar comes from.”For the honey enthusiast, it’s worth comparing local varieties as eachbatch is different depending upon the flowers blooming in the area at that time. According to master beekeeper Ray Lackey, who leads a novice beekeeping class at the South Fork Natural History Museum(SoFo), “Long Island does not have large acres of any crop or exclusiveflower to claim as a varietal honey, so we have a wildflower blend, whichis generally a very good, mild, light amber product.” The museum established a teaching apiary for Lackey’s class, and thisseason’s participants are gaining hands-on experience as well as a greater
p h o t o g r a p h y b y l i l y a n a V y n o g r a d o V a / g e t t y i m a g e s . c o m
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