We are offering a new product this year and I am so excited about it! Bee Pollen! So... what do you do with bee pollen, you ask? Eat it! Pollen itself is the male seed of flowers, required to fertilize the plant. It is used as a nutritional supplement that some people swear by. It contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino-acids, and more. We have seen claims for using it for energy, weight loss, alleviating depression and migraine headaches, preventing cancer, etc...etc...etc... We won't make any of those claims here, but I must say I think this fresh pollen is quite tasty. Other times that I have tried pollen I thought it tasted like hay, in a chalky form that is kind of hard to swallow. The pollen we have been harvesting still has the chalky texture, but it has been surprisingly sweet and flavorful. It is great for adding to smoothies, sprinkling on salads, or just eating by the spoonful (followed by a drink of OJ).
Here is a close-up picture where I tried to capture all the colors and textures of the different kinds of pollen. The bees gather pollen in little 'pollen sacs' on their legs. They use the pollen to feed to the baby bees. (Don't worry, we make sure there is plenty left for them).
It is harvested through the use of a pollen trap that goes on the bottom of the hive where the bees enter. See the unpainted wooden part where all the bees are trying to enter? As they enter through the pollen trap, the pollen is knocked off their legs and lands on a screen below. We empty the screen daily, and it is amazing to see the varieties of colors that accumulate throughout the day. You can tell the bees are gathering from different sources throughout the day, as the colors form in layers throughout the trap.
As I type, Isaac is out in the apiary pulling honey supers that will be extracted later this week. We are hoping to get a good harvest of Black Locust honey this week, which will be ready for market by Saturday. Maizy loves to help us "sort" honey as we bottle it. She is only 10 months old so honey is not a regular part of her diet yet... but we can tell she is counting down the days. She watches us eat honey with a look in her eyes that says, "I know that's something good... and I am going to get it." Until then... keep sorting those bottles Maizy. We will have a nice honey cake for you when you turn one!