Honey is a staple in pantries across the country, but why buy that plastic bear off the grocery store shelf when you get this local nectar from Harry’s Honey every Sunday?
Harry Stein, founder of Harry’s Honey, has been offering different varieties of honey since the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market began in 2006. He joined up in the second week to sell a startling array of choices including clover, sage, orange, lemon, buckwheat and eucalyptus. He even has unusual honeys gathered from avocado, cactus, strawberries and blackberries.
While talking with Harry at his booth, it was clear that customers consider him to be as much of a Farmers’ Market staple as his honey.
Harry has been beekeeping since 1972, and he now keeps 150 hives in the San Fernando Valley. That may sound like a lot, but he used to have 400 to 500 hives when he lived back East. He came out to California to retire, but needed to have honey, so his business naturally started up again. He soothed nervous neighbors with gifts of honey, and his business has been growing ever since.
Harry does not heat, process, filter or pasteurize any of his honey. He also offers other great products for Mar Vistans to enjoy including honeycomb that can be sliced and chewed like gum. Harry mentioned that local restaurants are buying his honeycomb and using it sliced on plates with arugula, tomatoes and mozzarella.
Got allergies? Bee pollen has long been known as a natural remedy. Simply eat a few granules each day to build up a tolerance, increasing the amount over time.
Harry, however, recommends bee pollen for more energy. He says that ounce for ounce, bee pollen is higher in protein than meat. He suggests customers undertake the following test: Consume a teaspoon a day for seven days and see whether your energy level isn’t completely transformed.
Caution: Those who have a history of anaphylactic shock need to be cautious when introducing bee pollen into their diets.
The most popular item among young visitors to Harry’s booth is the assortment of honey sticks. These honey-filled straws are flavored with natural extracts and are available in fun flavors such as wild watermelon, pink lemonade and root beer. Hikers and cyclists like to pack them. Simply pop one open for the perfect snack. They’re also great to stash in a desk drawer for that 4 p.m. energy crash.
If you’d rather not get your fingers gooey, try the whipped honey— liquid honey whipped at high speed that can be used as a spread. Harry says that it doesn’t make the bread soggy. He also has honey BBQ sauce made without sugar, and a line of soaps and lip balms made from honey and wax extracts.
Harry is at the Farmers’ Market every week, and also offers live bee removal services and beekeeping supplies.
Speaking of bees: The Mar Vista Community Council’s Green Committee is sponsoring a free screening of Vanishing of the Bees on Aug. 20 at the at 2 p.m.. Click here for more information on the screening.
Aug. 20 happens to be National Honeybee Day, so come celebrate and honor our great pollinators. Stay tuned for more details.
Christy Wilhelmi is well known to many local Mar Vistans as The Gardenerd. Her website and blog at www.gardenerd.com offers information on classes, consulting and food-garden design.