We rely on honey bees for one-third of our food supply. Honey bees, the only insects that make human food, are responsible for the pollination of over 100 crops including fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds and provide 80 percent of the world's pollination services. Without honey bees, for example, we'd have no almonds, cherries, cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries or peaches.
So when honey bees are in danger, we're all in danger. And, as you've probably heard, they are in serious danger. According to Häagen-Dazs, which has launched a national campaign to save the bees:
"Over the last few years, one-fourth of bee colonies have disappeared. A phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) seems to be the cause of the disappearing colonies. So far, no one seems to understand CCD but theories include pesticide contamination, fungus, bee malnutrition related to weather and drought, mite infestation and hive transportation issues. To solve the mystery so it can be addressed, CCD is being studied by UC Davis and other research groups. Häagen-Dazs is helping to fund the research."
How can you help? Häagen-Dazs suggests at least two ways everyone can help. One, you can download "The Bee Book" from its Web site: www.helpthehoneybees.com and use it to teach others about the current plight of the honey bees. It features easy-to-understand and fun facts, paper crafts, puzzles, etc., about honey bees and their threatened survival. Perhaps you can use it as a fun summer activity for your kids, Sunday School class, kid's birthday party or summer school, followed, of course, by an ice cream fest. Two, every time you purchase one of its designed bee-dependent ice creams, it will donate a portion of the purchase to the bee-saving campaign. A list of "bee-dependent" ice creams are also listed on the Web site but, without looking, you can assume any Häagen-Dazs ice cream made with fresh fruit, nuts or honey qualifies.
What a wonderful summer time opportunity - save the honey bees while enjoying some bee-licious ice cream. That's community service worth licking your lips about. To add to your honey delights, here's one of my favorite summer dishes with honey - it can be made with yogurt as a healthy breakfast or with ice cream as a refreshing dessert - for one or a dozen eaters. Be a honey and support the bees any way you can!
Jacqui lives in San Ramon with her pug, Nina Simone, and volumes of cookbooks and recipes. Her column runs every other week. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honey Hush! (serves one)
2 cups of your favorite yogurt or ice cream
(Epicure Note: For yogurt, I love Trader Joe's "Vanana." For ice cream, I love Häagen-Dazs' Butter Pecan or Mango Sorbet.)
1-2 cups of whole or sliced fruits, e.g., mango, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, grapes, melon
2-4 Tbsp natural honey
1/4 cup chopped nuts or sunflower seeds, optional
Start by placing the yogurt or ice cream in an individual bowl. Top with the fruit; squeeze or drizzle the honey on top of everything. Add nuts if desired.