Archive - September 2017
Now that we’re in the month of Elul, I’m starting to plan my Rosh Hashanah meals – yummy round raisin challahs, some kind of fish dish, vegetable tsimmes, apple noodle kugel, several salads and vegetable dishes, and of course, ending with a delicious gluten free honey cake (see recipe below)!
Many of us are deeply concerned about the declining numbers of bee colonies around the world, partly because we love watching bees at work and also because they are the major pollinators for most of our food crops. Major contributing factors include widespread use of pesticides and fungicides and parasitic mites in beehives. One of the ways each of us can help is by supporting small and local beekeepers, especially those practicing organic farming, both near our communities and from beekeepers around the world.
Fair Trade Sweetens the Deal
In the US and Europe, a large percentage of the imported honey is produced by impoverished bee keepers in developing countries in Latin America and Asia. Most bee keeping families live in remote areas, with limited access to transport or market information. They often lack the infrastructure to store and transport the honey without negatively affecting quality, and haven’t received training that would help them identify the different types of honey, thus losing the opportunity to sell their product at a higher price.
As a result, many beekeepers are dependent on local middlemen to buy their honey. Given this weak bargaining position, they’re forced to sell it at fraction of its real market value, and are not able to make a sustainable livelihood. Fair Trade offers producers an agreed upon minimum price, independent of market rates. Bee keeper cooperatives are linked directly to Fair Trade buyers, cutting out the middlemen, and creating longer term sustainability.
Fair Trade standards for honey assure that:
– Producers are small family farms organized in cooperatives (or associations) which they own and govern democratically
– The minimum Fair Trade price is paid directly to the producer cooperatives, allowing producers to cover their production costs
– Environmental standards restrict the use of agrochemicals and ban genetically modified plants
– Pre-harvest lines of credit are provided to the cooperatives if requested, up to 60% of the purchase price
– No forced or child labor is involved
– A Fair Trade premium is included in the purchase price; the cooperatives choose how to use this additional support for social and economic investments, such as education, health services, processing equipment, and loans to members.
This Rosh Hashanah, sweeten the beekeepers’ lives as well by choosing one of these certified Fair Trade and Kosher honey products:
BossBodywords is an online Etsy store featuring natural products. She has a variety of organic fair trade certified and kosher (Earth Kosher) honey products for sale, many of which are flavored with natural herbs (e.g. cinnamon, cherry, fennel, turmeric).
GloryBee produces a wide variety of OU Kosher Pareve certified Fair Trade organic honey products (raw, coffee blossom, organic). You can buy them on-line or find a local store that carries them.
Heavenly Organics gathers honey from naturally occurring wild beehives in India and the Himalayas. It is 100% raw organic, fair trade certified and OU Kosher certified. You can visit their store locator to identify where to purchase the honey near you.
Trader Joes’ Organic Raw Honey also comes from bee-keeping cooperatives in Mexico, and is simply the uncooked “unadulterated nectar” of jungle wildflowers. I t has Circle K (OK) Kosher certification and is available in all their stores.
Wholesome Sweetener’s Organic honeys (raw, amber, bottles/jars), certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, come from Fair Trade cooperatives in Mexico, so the farmers also receive a “sweet” and fair wage. You can now purchase their products online at their Amazon store.
GLUTEN-FREE HONEY CAKE
Adapted from “elana’s pantry” by Elana Amsterdam
½ cup boiling water
2 tablespoons organic decaf ground coffee (not instant)
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup honey
¼ cup grapeseed oil
2 large eggs
½ cup raisins
½ cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Pour ½ cup boiling water through a filter containing 2 tablespoons organic decaf coffee; discard grounds and cool liquid
2. In a large bowl combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves
3. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil, eggs, and coffee
4. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then stir in raisins and nuts (optional)
5. Transfer batter to a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan
6. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes
7. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour