Monday, September 7, 2009

Bees in my life

This morning in honor of my brother-in-law having taken up bee keeping in Seattle, this past year, T and I decided to revisit The Bee Park (Skiadena) in Liappedes.

Besides it was on the way back from the clinic where I had my blood drawn.

I had never been but T (on the way back from when HE had blood drawn two weeks ago) decided to take a look at one of Corfu's many marvelous "roadside attractions".

brother-in-law w. bees

He had spent an interesting if mostly pantomimed half hour 'talking' with Sofia, the bee lady, and he brought home a small jar of the best honey I have ever tasted. So I decided I wanted to visit too and we were off..

We arrived just as she was opening up for business. She spoke German and Greek but of course we didn't, so she gallantly used what little english she could and between all three languages we had a lovely half hour and cup of Greek coffee with her under the olive trees.

She spent most of her life in Germany, but was glad to finally settle in Greece. She took over bee keeping at first as a favor to a neighbor to help out when his sons didn't want to take over his bee business. She said she never expected to like it, but she loves the bees. (and yes they DO bite her!)

She's been doing it for about 8 years now and has convinced all the local olive growers who own the groves where she keeps her bees, not to spray pesticides on the trees, so her honey is pure and organic. She keeps over 100 hives and takes care of them all.

She also makes and sells bee pollen, royal jelly, honeycomb and of course her marvelous honey. (with bottles and jars of her own olive oil from her trees, as well as her own dried herbs and sun dried tomatoes in oil, and jams and spoon sweets she makes herself.)

[click on picture for fullsize)

She is charming and very entrepreneurial in sort of a slightly batty way. The bee park is a strange mixture of odd playground equipment, a HUGE blue stuffed animal in a small cart at the entry way (wearing some olive netting over it's head!).

She remember when T came to visit and as a parting gift gave us a bottle of her homemade quince jam! We told her that we just wanted to buy some honey, and try the bee pollen. The benefits of bee pollen seem almost too good to be true!

Bee pollen is used to retard hardening of the arteries, to strengthen the circulatory system and combat the symptoms of illness and allergies. It is believed to regulate the function of the endocrine system, aid digestion, reduce stress and increase alertness and stamina. Bee pollen has more protein by weight than meat, fish or eggs! Bee pollen is the richest known vegetable source of steroid hormones which improve overall strength, muscle mass, endurance and sexual potency. Pollen is known to accelerate healing, and increase blood and sperm count.

A Swedish study has concluded that using bee pollen therapeutically can significantly decrease inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. It is believed to be the natural hormonal substances contained in bee pollen that help to support the male urinary and reproductive systems. Some researchers have suggested that men should take bee pollen after the age of 30 to help prevent the onset of prostate disorders. Bee pollen has also been found to greatly reduce the symptoms of menopause for women. A study conducted in Germany has revealed that the daily use of bee pollen is an excellent natural way to lower cholesterol with no side effects found in synthetic medications.
So! We'll try it out. Since neither one of us is allergic to bees, I figure it can't hurt!!


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  1. You don't realise how useful this post has been. A while ago a friend of my husband's gave him a jar of these strange little yellow seed-type thingies. I had no idea what it was and he couldn't find a translation for what he thought it was! Well now I's bee pollen! It's been sitting in my cupboard just waiting for me to find out what it is.

    Do you know how long it keeps? Does it have a shelf-life?

    And very interesting post xx

  2. More information about bee pollen:

    Q & A community forum on Health

    Q. I'm trying to find out the life of bee pollen granules. I bought 2 packages several years ago and am nervous about taking it without knowing the length of time it can last. I also take atenonal, lovastatin and cmybaltia???? help please

    A. Expiration Date: Approx. 3 years from the date of purchase and not opened..
    it won't affect your other meds .

    [I have also read (can't remember where) that the fresher the better as with all food, but its shelf life is more like raisins or other dried fruit.]

  3. Brilliant...thanks very much for that. I'm going to start taking it tomorrow! xxx

  4. Bees are fascinating, I've always thought! Even more so now!

  5. dear gaelikaa,

    I love bees, but like everyone else pretty much took them for granted-- until they started disappearing!

    Best book to read re: bees - Robbing The Bees: a biography of honey, by Holley Bishop; Free Press; 2005

    I really enjoyed it. It really is a biography of honey, and its history. It's also about a woman (the writer) who decides to keep bees and then apprentices herself to a Florida professional beekeeper.




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