The wintery months like February are the months for everyone, including bees, to hibernate, dream of flowers, and plan for the months ahead. There are many reasons to love bees year round. Melissa Hronkin at Algomah Acres, a honey farm and meadery in the snowy western Upper Peninsula, reminds us of this.
Algomah Acres’ honey house is located inside of a historical church building, Melissa is an art teacher and her husband, John, has a culinary background. The name Algomah means field of flowers in Ojibwe and is the name of the street that borders their property.
“The crisis of the colony collapse, made me realize the importance of the bees, my name means honeybee. It all just clicked.”
Melissa and John started their first two colonies in 2008. Since then they began making mead from the honey. They also produce candles and lip-balms. Melissa as an artist uses the wax to bring back the art of encaustic painting, or painting with beeswax.
“Bees are at the center of everything we do,” Melissa explained.
It is important to take a moment and remember all of the reasons to love bees this Valentine’s season:
♥“Pollinators, like bees, are involved in every third bite of food we eat,” Melissa said. “They are responsible for the diversity of food we have.”
♥Bees know efficient teamwork. “[The colony] could almost be a model; the way everyone works together toward a cause is inspiring.”
♥Bees are magical. Melissa explained bees as alchemists. Like making gold, bees add enzymes to nectar create the golden goo we love.
♥“Bees are like winged apothecaries. Their honey is anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. They can create whatever they need,” Melissa said.
♥Bees are an indicator species. “Bees are fragile. Everything we do effects them. We’re all in this together.
As we hibernate this February, remember bee positive, bee loving, and bee the change.
Melissa Orzechowski is Taste the Local Difference’s Local Food Coordinator for the U.P. She is currently a graduate student at Northern Michigan University. Contact her at [email protected]