Honey, honey…
Honey is one of the most ancient and revered of foods – not for nothing did the Old Testament refer to the Promised Land as ‘flowing with milk and honey’, a phrase which is used to this day to signify fertility and ease.
And remarkably, it’s still produced today pretty much as it would be all those thousands of years ago, barring the odd bit of Kingspan – but more of that later!

In the last couple of years, the Pipe and Glass has teamed up with beekeeper Paul Denston, who has been providing the kitchen with much of the honey it uses.



A builder by trade, Paul has 12 hives which, at time of writing, were preparing to go into hibernation in the garden of his home in East Yorkshire.

But one of them spent the hot summer of 2019 in the garden at the Pipe and Glass next to a lime tree – enviable models of efficiency, the bees will tend to head unerringly to the nearest source of nectar, so locating them next to a readily available source will allow the keeper to control the predominant flavour.



The resulting lime honey has gone into the kitchen, and is also for sale in the Pipe and Glass’s shop – Paul is planning to go a ‘bit arty’ by layering the pale lime honey with some darker heather honey from the North York Moors.

Honey is a family affair for the Denstons – Paul’s father was a beekeeper and his daughters sometimes help him out – and it’s clear that he regards his bees as an extension of that family.

He’s keen to point out how precious this substance we take for granted as an everyday commodity actually is – each hive holds about 30,000 to 40,000 bees, and each will produce only around 1/12th of a teaspoon in its short lifetime, flying anything up to five miles to forage for food.






After overwintering in Paul’s garden – where the wooden hives gain an extra layer of protection and insulation from a wrapping of Kingspan, a commodity which, as a builder, he has plenty of! – they’ll return to their various locations including the Pipe and Glass garden.

And Paul hopes to locate one near the new lavender farm at Kiplingcotes in 2020 – lavender honey is particularly finely flavoured.



The bees tend to be active making honey from around April to late September, but for a few months in the middle of that period, you might find a swarm – check first that they’re actually honey bees, and if you’re happy that they are, take a look at the York and District Beekeepers Association website where you’ll find a list of members – including Paul – who’ll be happy to come and take them away for you:

www.yorkbeekeepers.com



Save the bees

Like so much of our wildlife, bees are under threat. Friends of the Earth estimates that 35 different species of bees in this country are currently under threat of extinction.

And make no mistake, that would be a disaster – bees are hugely important pollinators, keeping food crops healthy and flourishing – according to the FoE website, a world without bees would cost farmers in this country an annual £1.8bn to pollinate their crops.

The campaign group has launched Bee Cause (don’t blame us, we didn’t make the name up!), which has lots of simple ways of helping your local bee population, from making your garden more bee-friendly to building a simple bee house to keep them warm in winter.

Find out more here:

www.friendsoftheearth.uk/bees


PUBLISHED :November 2019
TAGS : FOODGARDENMEET THE PRODUCER
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