A little about bee pollen…
Bob just got a new toy for the farm that has been three years in the making. In 2010 he ordered a specially modified seed cleaner to be used for cleaning bee pollen. Three years later it arrived. This cleaner is hand-made with wooden frames and metal screens to use agitation and air to clean our bee pollen. The man who built this for us has a long history in doing this. His grandfather made the first seed cleaner in the 1920’s and while ours is a little more high-tech, the same basic principles and design are used in the one we now own.
The bee pollen is shaken and sifted through several sizing screens by airflow with any waste separated and disposed. For decades, farms have used this type of device to remove the chaff and excess plant material accompanying harvested seed so that it may be sized uniformly to fit in planters. It also allows for inspection of the quality of seeds. Our cleaner will be used to remove any bee material or wax while leaving the pollen granules whole.
Bee pollen, along with nectar, is the total source of nutrition for a bee and is the most complete food known to man, containing amino acids, vitamins, minerals, folic acid and it is a richer source of protein than any animal source. It is credited with helping everything from athletic performance and the immune system to treating skin inflammation, but the two main reasons people consume bee pollen to treat allergies and to use as a nutritional supplement. It takes about a teaspoon a day for three months to see any benefits from bee pollen, and consuming raw, locally harvested bee pollen is best since the bees are gathering pollen from the same regional plants that may be causing seasonal allergies. Of course, the best way to find out how bee pollen would benefit you personally is to consult your physician.
At the markets we have heard of all sorts of uses and benefits from our customers. Since it is such a richly packed nutritional food, it is advisable to introduce it to your diet slowly and to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction. It is wonderful to add to a multitude of dishes, I have had bee pollen on everything from yogurt to salads, but do not add to anything hot since heat will destroy the active enzymes and reduce the nutritional benefits. It can be stored for about six months, and it can be frozen safely for later use.
Also, here is a quick note about the markets…
It is getting close to that time of the year when the temperatures rise and our days at the market are coming close to an end. Our last market at the Old Town Farmers’ Market will be on Saturday, May 25th. We will continue the Wednesday markets at the Town and Country Farmers’ Markets until Wednesday, June 26th.