Let's be thankful for the honey bees. They pollinate our plants and provide us with sweet honey; their propolis is used in several commercial products and their pollen and royal jelly have health benefits.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner may consist of a golden brown turkey fragrant with herbs and spices used in its stuffing and creamy mashed potatoes with chives added, all topped with giblet gravy.
How many of these dishes are on your table because a honey bee pollinated the plants?
Wild turkeys eat berries and seeds as part of their diet. Those berries and seeds were probably available to the turkey because of honey bees. Even if you cook a domesticated turkey, honey bees most likely pollinated the herbs you used in the rub or stuffing. Sage is commonly used with turkey and it's a honey bee plant.
Doesn't that cranberry relish look so pretty with the red of the cranberries, orange of the oranges and a sprinkling of brown from the nuts? Cranberries require a large quantity of honey bees in cultivated bogs in order to set fruit. Oranges and nuts also come from honey bee plants.
Those creamy mashed potatoes look so comforting and you know they are going to taste great with specks of chives and giblet gravy spread over the top. Potatoes are pollinated by bumble bees but the chives are a honey bee plant.
A Waldorf salad containing walnuts, celery, red grapes, apple, lemon juice and lettuce is made up of ingredients from plants that honey bees frequent. This salad adds a refreshing taste to the menu.
The candied sweet potatoes look so inviting with their gooey marshmallow topping. Honey bees like sweet potato blooms, too.
Desserts are everyone's favorite part of a meal. Pumpkin and pecan pies add a touch of traditional colors of fall with their orange and brown colors. Honey bees love pumpkins and pecans.
Your Thanksgiving dinner may not be traditional but I'll bet honey bees had a part in producing some of the ingredients that make up your meal.
On behalf of honey bees everywhere, THANK YOU for your help in keeping us fed and healthy with the plants you choose to add to your garden.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Source: The Beekeeper’s Garden by Ted Hooper and Mike Taylor
Image of wild turkey provided by Zanymuse