They're known for their creativity.
What they do, however, does not involve correcting social injustices, breaking ceilings in workplaces or pushing the latest fashions, as the descriptive adjectives might indicate.
It has everything to do with making award-winning mead or honey wine.
The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day.
"This course is for anyone who has experience making mead and wants to take their craft to the next level," says Amina Harris, director of Honey and Pollination Center, affiliated with the UC Davis Mondavi Institute and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
- Jeff Herbert, Superstition Meadery (Prescott, Ariz.)
- Carvin Wilson, a vocational meadmaker and mead promoter extraordinaire (Phoenix, Ariz.)
- Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor, Kookoolan Farms and Kookoolan World Meadery, and author of The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing" (Yamhill, Ore.)
- Pete Bakulic, director of the Mazer Cup International Mead Competition and mead consultant
- Billy Beltz, owner of Lost Cause Meadery (San Diego.)
- Michelle and Jeremy Kyncl, owners of Hierophant Meadery (Mead, Wash.)
Yes, you read that last line right. Mead makers Michelle and Jeremy Kynci of Mead. You can sip mead in Mead at their Green Bluff Tasting Room. Mead is an unincorporated suburb north of Spokane, population under 8000, according to the 2010 Census. It was NOT named for honey wine but for Civil War Army General "Old Snapping Turtle" George Meade, 1815-1873, known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg. His name lives on despite an "e" that went MIA.
Curious what Hierophant means? As the owners say on their website: "The Hierophant is generally described as 'one who reveals/shows what is sacred or holy.' We believe that the honey bee should be revered as such, as the declining population of honey bees and wild pollinators most certainly reveal to us that change is needed in the way things are done in our food system. We therefore depicted the honey bee as the Hierophant by adding a kabbalistic tree of life in our logo representation. This tree of life symbol is associated with the Hierophant."
The last day to register for the UC Davis course (the fee for the two-day course is $275) is Wednesday, May 12. Register here. You can contact Elizabeth Luu, marketing and events manager, at email@example.com for more information.
There's a "me" in mead. The American Mead Makers Association says mead has exploded 130 percent since 2011, making it "the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category in the United States."
And now a me-and-you mead course is buzzing our way.
The UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP) has announced it will sponsor an online introduction to mead on Saturday, May 1. It's a time to learn, taste and sip--and you can do so with friends who also register for the course, says CAMBP program manager Wendy Mather.
The virtual event is set from 9 a.m. to noon. Master Beekeeper candidate Mark Carlson "will lead us in a general mead and honey appreciation class," said Mather, adding "We will leave the mead-making lessons to the experts at the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. "Mark will identify what makes one single source honey different from another, presenting them both from a flavor perspective, but also as a scientist who loves chemistry. The emphasis will be on nectar origins and equipment sanitation for the most part." Special guest Michael Zilber, owner and mead maker at Heidrun Meadery, Point Reyes Station, "will join us at 11:15 to share his passion and lead us in a mead tasting."
The course, "Introduction to Mead 2021," is designed to:
- Understand honey and mead, using comparative sensory analysis and other scientific tools
- Review options for sanitizing equipment
- Introduce the process of fermentation, and
- Engage in a honey and a mead tasting
The event is open to the public at $40 per ticket. Register at https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/718.
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty directs the California Master Beekeeper Program, which uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. Its vision, as detailed on its website, is to train 2500 Apprentice beekeepers over the next five years "so they can effectively communicate the importance of honey bees and other pollinators within their communities, serve as mentors for other beekeepers, and become the informational conduit between the beekeeping communities throughout the state and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) staff." Check out the website for upcoming courses. For more information on the program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) targets the yellow starthistle on its "How to Manage Pests; Pests in Gardens and Landscapes" site.
But in the opinion of many a honey connoisseur (including Eric Mussen, emeritus Extension apiculturist, UC Davis), starthistle makes one of the best honeys.
What about the mead (honey wine) made from starthistle? What's that like?
You can find out at the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center's "Mead Making 201" course, where you'll taste "Star Thistle Ambrosia," from St. Ambrose Cellars, Beulah, Mich.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says you can take take Mead Making 201 "in the comforts of your own home." The online course covers core information including guided tastings with selected meads and honey. "Each participant will go on virtual meadery tours and get to directly ask our mead makers questions."
The online course is scheduled June 22-23 and June 25-26, from 8 a.m. to noon each day, Pacific Daylight Time. The deadline to register is June 1.
The course, sensory-driven to help mead makers learn more about their craft, is designed for mead makers who have made six more fermentations and "have a lot of questions about how to improve," the officials related. "This mead maker knows that it isn't always beginner's luck and needs to do much more work to learn how to be successful each and every time."
The full-bottled meads to be featured:
- Blackberry - Schramm's Mead
- Statement - Schramm's Mead
- John Lemon - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Razzputin - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Tom Cat: Gin Barrel - Sap House Meadery
- Echoes: Rye Barrel - Sap House Meadery
- Coveters B2 - Lost Cause Meadery
- Snow Melt - Superstition
- Star Thistle Ambrosia - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Melia - Rabbit's Foot Meadery
Other items on the agenda:
- Spiked mead samples for defect tasting
- Mead Tasting Wheel
- Honeys for Honey to Mead Tasting
- UC Davis Aroma and Flavor Honey Wheel
All you mead is love--plus a little money (well-spent) and the time (well spent) to learn more about how to craft the world's oldest alcoholic beverage.
Mead or honey wine is the "in" thing, and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, has announced plans for three mead classes for January-February and a feast on Feb. 9 that celebrates mead and honey.
"More and more people are becoming familiar with mead right now," Harris said. "Meaderies are opening at the rate of one every three days here in the United States. And there are quite a few new ones right here in California!" In the classes, you'll learn how to make a good mead and what makes a good mead, she said.
- Thursday, Jan. 11: Mead-Making Bootcamp
- Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12-13: Beginners' Introduction to Mead Making
- Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10: The Styles and Nuances of Mead Making
- Friday, Feb. 9: The Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey
The Mead-Making Bootcamp, set from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11 in the LEED Platinum Teacher and Research Winery, will be directed by Chik Brennerman, winemaker for the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, along with assistant winemaker Melissa Pellinii. The hands-on class is limited to 40. The class will feature small learning groups, each with its own UC Davis leader. Each group of 10 will follow a basic mead recipe, completing each step. Finally, students will bottle mead made in previous workshops. The agenda includes a welcome and introductions by Harris; a lecture by Brenneman and Pellini on "What Is Mead? A Recipe for Sweet Success?" Continental breakfast and lunch are included. The cost is $200. Registration is underway here.
The Styles and Nuances of Meadmaking is a two-day course on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10 in the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building, featuring keynote speaker Chrissie Zaerpoor of the Williamette Valley of the Pacific Northwest. She is a meadmaker, organic farmer and author of "The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing." The book is billed as "the world's first complete mead appreciation book, with pairing suggestions for all types of mead and food, including Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian. Zaerpoor offers some 50 recipes in her book. In addition to keynoting the event, she will be help develop each of the tastings that will take place over the two days. Registration is underway here. The "early bee" special is $775, and after Jan. 7, it's $825. A centerpiece of the program will be the Center's annual Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey on Friday evening.
Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey: This is the fifth annual celebration and will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 at the the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. A pollinator-inspired menu will be paired with a selection of meads, including a variety of UC Davis products and campus-grown produce. The menu will feature mead pairings by meadmaker Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor. This is billed as an elegant fundraiser to help support the Center's mission of making UC Davis the world's leading authority on bee health, pollination and honey quality. The cost is $150. Registration is underway here.
The Honey and Pollination Center, launched in 2011 and affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is located in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus. Professor Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the faculty co-chair. Among the many affiliated with the center are department faculty Elina Lastro Niño, Extension apiculturist, and Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus.
The center, Harris says, aims to increase consumer, industry and stakeholder understanding of the importance of bees, pollination, honey and other products of the hive to people and the environment through research, education, and outreach. She may be reached at email@example.com.
The inaugural California Honey Festival, to take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 6 on a four-block stretch in historic downtown Woodland, will draw folks from all over state and beyond. And it's free and open to the public.
Coordinated by Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, the festival will offer honey sampling, mead, live bands, talks on beekeeping and bee friendly plants, and vendors offering bee-related wares. And that's just the "bee-ginning."
At the Honey Lab, located in the UC Davis booth, members of the UC Davis Master Beekeeper Program and knowlegeable volunteers will teach festival-goers about "all things honey."
Some of the activities at the Honey Lab booth:
- Taste honey from around the world and check out the giant honey flavor and aroma wheel
- Learn about UC Davis beekeeping and the California Master Beekeeper Program
- Follow how honey is made from flower to bottle
- Marvel at the life cycle of a honey bee, starting with an egg and resulting in a bee just a couple weeks later
- Learn what is harming our bees
- Peruse the different kinds of bee hives and how they work
- Purchase books and UC Davis honey from the UC Davis bookstore
"The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping through this unique educational platform, to the broader public," said Harris. "Through lectures and demonstrations, the festival will help develop an interest in beekeeping by the younger generation. Attendees will learn about the myriad of issues that confront honey bees including pesticide use, diseases and even the weather! In addition, attendees can learn how to creatively plant their gardens to help feed all of our pollinators. It is important for the community to appreciate and understand the importance of bees as the lead pollinator of many of our crops adding to the food diversity we have come to enjoy."
Brandi, who spoke at a 2015 symposium at UC Davis, said that the major issues that negatively impact colonies include pesticides, varroa mites, nutritional issues and diseases. "It's much more difficult to keep bees alive and healthy today than it was in the 1970s," he told his audience. "I had a 5 percent winter loss in the 1970s, and a 13 to 45 percent winter loss in his operation during the past 10 years."
Among the many other speakers: Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, booked from 11 to 11:45 a.m. and from 2 to 2:45 p.m., and Billy Synk, director of pollination programs for Project Apis m., and former manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Honey Bee Facility at UC Davis. Sync speaks from 12 to 12:45.
The California Honey Festival website includes a program schedule.
Expect lots of honey--which has been described as "the soul of a field of flowers."