The festival, free and family friendly, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event celebrates the importance of bees, and promotes honey and honey bees and their products. Last year it drew a crowd of 40,000,
UC Davis faculty are among those scheduled to deliver 20-minute talks on the Speakers' Stage, located just west of First Street. The list of speakers includes:
10:30 a.m.: Pollination ecologist and professor Neal Williams, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who will discuss "Native Bees and their Conservation"
11 a.m.: Kitty Bolte, GATEways horticulturist, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, "Planting Your Garden to be a Welcoming Space for Pollinators"
12 noon: Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, and co-owner of Z Food Specialty and The HIVE, Woodland, "Let's Learn to Taste Honey."
1 p.m.: Wendy Mather, co-program manager of the California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMPB), "So, You Want to Be a Beekeeper?"
1:30 p.m.: Jean-Philippe Marelli, senior director of Integrated Pest Management for Mars Wrigley Confectionery (also a journey level master beekeeper and Melipona beekeeper in Brazil), "Stingless Bees: The Amazing World of Melipona Bees"
2 p.m.: Cooperative Extension apiculturist/associate professor Elina Lastro Niño of Entomology and Nematology, and director of the California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMPB), "What Our Bee Research Is Teaching Us."
2:30 p.m.: Sanmu "Samtso" Caoji, a 2022-23 Hubert Humphrey fellow, and founder of the Shangri-la Gyalthang Academy, and CEO of the Cultural Information Consulting Company, "Empowering Women to Become Beekeepers and Bread Winners for Their Families While Keeping Bees in the Wild"
3 p.m.: Rachel Davis, coordinator of Bee City USA Woodland and chair of Bee Campus USA UC Davis (and GATEways Horticulturist for the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden), "Woodland Is a Bee City; UC Davis Is a Bee City--What This Means to Our Communities"
UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey will provide a background slide show of images of honey bees and native bees.
This will be the Amina Harris' last California Honey Festival as director of the Honey and Pollination Center, which she founded in 2012. The co-owner of Z Food Specialty and The HIVE, Woodland, Harris will retire from UC Davis at the end of June. She co-founded the California Honey Festival in 2017 with the City of Woodland.
The festival is both educational and entertaining. At her annual booth, Harris explains what the honey flavor wheel is and invites the crowd to sample honey varietals. Attendees can also check out the bee observation hives, watch cooking demonstrations and kids' shows, taste mead and other alcoholic drinks (if of age) and learn about bees from beekeepers and bee scientists. Vendors, offering various products and food, will line the streets.
The UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program, founded in 2016 by Niño, provides a program of learning, teaching, research, and public service. They offer comprehensive, science-based information about honey bees and honey bee health. Since 2016, the organization has donated 32,000 hours of volunteer time and served 186,630 individuals in education, outreach and beekeeping mentorship. Read more about their classes and their work on their website.
Following the California Honey Festival, an after-party will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at The HIVE Tasting Room and Kitchen, 1221 Harter Ave., Woodland. It will feature pollinator-inspired food, drinks, and dancing to the music of Joy and Madness, an 8-piece soul and funk group. Tickets are $20 and will benefit the California Master Beekeeper Program. "Each ticket includes entry to win a bountiful Yolo County food and drink basket (value $500)," Harris said. More information is on this website.
The annual California Honey Festival, free and open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland. It's about celebrating the importance of bees; the festival's mission is "to promote honey and honey bees and their products." Last year's event drew some 40,000 people.
Honey bees pollinate more than 30 California crops, including almonds, a $5 billion industry (no bees, no pollination, no almonds). Indeed, California produces more than a third of our country's vegetables and three-quarters of our fruits and nuts. However, colony losses are alarming due to pesticides, pests, predators and pathogens.
The event, launched in 2017, is both educational and entertaining. You can taste honey, check out bee observation hives, watch cooking demonstrations and kids' shows, taste mead and other alcoholic drinks (if you're of age) and learn about bees from beekeepers and bee scientists. Vendors, offering various products and food, will line the streets.
Co-founder of the California Honey Festival, with the city of Woodland, is Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute. At her annual booth, she explains what the honey flavor wheel is and invites the crowd to sample honey varietals.
An integral part of the festival is the UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), founded and directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department Entomology and Nematology faculty. Since 2016, the CAMBP team has provided a program of learning, teaching, research, and public service, delivering comprehensive, science-based information about honey bees and honey bee health. They've donated donated 32,000 hours of volunteer time and served 186,630 individuals in education, outreach and beekeeping mentorship since 2016. Read more about their classes and their work on their website.
Here's a photographic glimpse of previous California Honey Festivals:
But sometimes folks associate "sweet" with honey.
Honey, however, is not always sweet, says Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, who is to honey what noted wine connoisseurs are to wine.
Her descriptions of honey varietals are not only remarkable but legendary.
You, too, can learn about honey and how to taste varietals from California, the United States, and throughout the world at the center's series of three classes that begin next month.
The classes take place Feb. 8, March 22, and April 25 in the Sensory Theater, Robert Mondavi Institute, located at 392 Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus. You can register for a single class ($100) or register for all three classes and receive a sample set of three honeys as a gift ($25 value).
It's interesting that a company based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, has announced plans to produce a "bee-free honey."
Snackandbakery.com recently published a piece about Fooditive's plans.
"By mass-producing a bio-identical honey that eliminates the need to intensively farm honeybees, Fooditive aims to create a scalable, provenanced supply," the article related. "This will address consumer concerns about animal welfare and sustainability, as well as provide all the traditional benefits of traditional honey."
The Dutch-based company proclaims on its website: "At the beginning of our journey, we had a dream. The dream was to create something that could change the world and make people's lives better by making the world sweeter with no side effects. We wanted to help people get the things they need or just make their day better, but the dream grew and became a mission to make healthy food affordable."
The dream now is to apparently to start production trials in 2023 of "the world's first 100 percent bee-free honey."
Fooditive founder and CEO Moayad Abushokhedim is quoted as saying: “Our goal is to provide the world's first 100% bee-free honey with no compromise on taste, quality or price. The process of genetic sequence modification used in our honey already has an established track record with our vegan casein. We believe our process will be the stepping stone for a revolutionary advancement in the food and biotechnology industries, enabling any animal product to be mimicked and even improved by bioengineering plant-based ingredients.”
The problem is, if it's not from bees, it's not honey. Call it Hon-ee, or Hawn-ee or Hun-ee, but it's not honey. There's also a product called "Bee Free Honee," an apple-based vegan alternative to honey. The company went out of business in 2019.
Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center (no, not the UC Davis Bee-Free Honey and Pollination Center) minces no words. "Call it what it is. A honey substitute. Or a vegan alternative."
"Honey," she says, "is the product of honey bees."
Want to learn about honey? What the honey bees really make? The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center is offering a series of three classes on Honey Exploration where you can learn about--and taste--honey varietals throughout the world. The series starts Feb. 8, continues March 22, and ends April 25.
Nothing is better than this!
Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollinator Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, is actually the "queen bee" of this organization but she's also a worker bee. She's scheduled two mead workshops in February, and a series of three honey exploration classes--exploring honey in California, United States and the world--in February, March and April.