Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Beekeepers Are Doing Their Part To Save The World

We speak with Tracy Hunter, a third generation beekeeper. Bees are in trouble and two filmmakers want you to know. And, beets and honey make a sweet condiment.

two beekeepers in masks handling bees

Photo: Rodny Dioxin (Flickr)

With veils and gloves, these two folks are well equipped to be working with a bee hive.

Vanishing Of The Bees

A couple weeks ago, we heard from the folks at Harvest Public Media about a new breed of pesticides that experts believe could be wreaking havoc with bee populations. The name of what’s going on is Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s a syndrome where bees leave their hive abandoning the queen and all their young. The thing is they aren’t finding any dead bees near the hive. They just seem to disappear.

The United States has been fighting CCD for five years now, but according to filmmaker George Langworthy, these apparently toxic chemicals have been around since World War II. He says pesticides are derived from chemical warfare, and the chemicals are only getting more potent.

His film Vanishing Of The Bees attempts to shed light on these issues.

We like to parallel it to the issue of global warming where ten years ago a lot of people hadn’t heard about. When you start to work on a big problem like global warming, it’s not like you come to the table and say, “Yay everybody, here are the solutions.” The first step is raising awareness.

The film follows two commercial beekeepers as they lobby the government to protect their honeybees, which are responsible for one out of every three bites of food on our plates.

Langworthy practices what he preaches: he has a backyard beehive of his own.

He’s also a big cook so having his own honey to work with is pretty cool. He recommends experimenting with buckwheat honey (“It’s a whole new world”), and use one tablespoon of the sweet stuff when you’re caramelizing onions.

The Serious Business of Honey

Just like George Langworthy’s in California, backyard apiaries are popping up all over the country these days as folks are starting to consider beekeeping a worthwhile hobby. But it’s no hobby for Tracy Hunter of Hunter’s Honey Farm. This business has been in his family since the early 1900s, and it seems as though his 15-year-old son is hot on taking it over eventually. (He collected his first swarm when he was 10 years old.)

“Bee pollen contains 96 nutrients,” Tracy Hunter says. “It’s a more complete protein than red meat. Your body can live off water and bee pollen.”

They also take these raw products and transform them into of additional foodstuffs, including:

  • Honey sauces
  • Honey caramel corn
  • Honey puffs
  • Honey roll-ups
  • Honey beef jerky
  • Honey dog treats

And, if you’re suffering from arthritis, Tracy has a solution: get stung! Bee venom has anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties.

More: Find out more about bees and honey on the Hunter’s Honey Farm website.

Beet And Honey Vinaigrette With Orange


Photo: Chiot's Run (Flickr)

These beets are fresh from the garden. Even though this recipe does not use the tops, don't discard them. Instead, sautée them with garlic.

We’ve used this dressing for all kinds of things, from a dipping sauce for tempura squash to a ketchup-substitute on a veggie burger. It’s also very tasty paired with goat cheese and drizzled over a salad.

Beet and Honey Vinaigrette with Orange


  • 1 inch peeled and roughly chopped ginger
  • 3 strips orange peel
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 medium roasted beets, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 cups salad oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until very smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

News Stories In This Podcast:

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

View all posts by this author »

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing the ingredients. I wanna try making it over the weekend.
    Seems I like it though.

    Abby from Abby from Coconut water juice

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media