Let’s Talk Food: World Bee Day is May 20

  • Courtesy photo Copycat Honey Sesame Chicken from Panda Express

  • Courtesy photo Honeycomb charcuterie

  • Courtesy photo Honeycomb Watermelon Cake

  • Courtesy photo Hawi beekeepers Kailin Kim and Kai Hudgins of Ho‘ola Honey pictured with their children and their products.

Hawi beekeepers Kailin Kim and Kai Hudgins of Ho‘ola Honey, teamed up with Comvita, the global leader in UMF Manuka honey, along with a hand-selected group of other rescuers throughout the nation to keep bees from extermination or existing undesirable hive locations. Grants are being provided to them by Comvita to keep the bees safe, pollinating and thriving,

“Ho‘ola” means to save, to heal and to thrive, and this is what the mission of Ho‘ola Honey is.

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They started with a vision of Hawaii and a world where keiki and nola meli (honey bees) have a safe, clean and healthy environment necessary to thrive.

Hudgins and Kim relocated their first colony of honey bees from a water meter box near their home in 2016 and have since rescued more than 130 hives from around the island. Their bees are happy and busy pollinating local farms and gardens.

Ho‘ola Honey’s philosophy is: “We believe that with hard work and a conscious mindset, we can all work together to ho‘ola our honey bees for the well-being of our families now and for future generations.”

Thanks to beekeepers such as Hudgins and Kim, there could be a reversal of 50% of the bee population’s decline since the start of 2020. So important are bees as they play a critical role in pollinating nearly 75% of our global supply and also support biodiversity in ecosystems.

“Nearly five decades ago, Comvita’s founders and innovative beekeepers Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen set out to connect people to nature for the benefits of good health,” said Corey Blick, senior vice president of Comvita North America. “Bees were their inspiration, and honey their medicine. In this spirit, Comvita has worked hard to cultivate safe and healthy places for bees to thrive. We are proud to both support and pass down the art and science of beekeeping to new generations who are equally as passionate about being stewards to the bees and protectors of the land.”

Beekeepers selected to be part of this program will receive up to $2,000 in grants to perform 10 beehive rescues each in their local communities, assist other regional beekeepers in performing rescues or grow more pollinator-friendly plants to encourage a healthy ecosystem for the bees. The hives found in undesirable locations will be safely relocated and maintained by these beekeepers to support the bees in the hive and the strength of the queen bee.

By word of mouth, especially because Hudgins was born and raised in Waimea and is related to so many, people know to call Ho‘ola Honey when they find a hive that needs rescuing. Hudgins worked in construction before becoming a bee rescuer, so that experience has been very useful in building new hives for bees.

But if you do not know about Hudgins and Kim, visit their website, savehealththrive.com, and fill out the form. Kim will get back to you immediately. Their email address is savehealththrive@gmail.com.

Ho‘ola Honey gets about 200 calls a year from schools, businesses and homes when they find a hive that they would like to be rescued. Please keep their website and email with you in case you encounter a hive between the walls of your home, which I have heard about often.

With access to honeycomb, Kim likes to put a piece of it on brie for a charcuterie. Also popular with their children is a honeycomb watermelon cake for birthdays.

Honeycomb Watermelon Cake

Ho‘ola chunk honeycomb

1 large or 2-3 small watermelons

Assortment of fresh fruit (strawberries, grapes, dragonfruit, starfruit, papaya)

Cut watermelon into circles of different sizes that can be stacked on top of each other. Decorate with fresh fruit using skewers or toothpicks to hold in place. Top with chunk of Ho‘ola honeycomb and let the raw honey flow down over the fruits.

•••

What if we have no honey and we can’t make copycat honey sesame chicken from Panda Express? That would be really sad!

Copycat Honey Sesame Chicken from Panda Express

Serves: 6

1 pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch strips

Whisk together:

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place chicken pieces in egg mixture.

In a second bowl, mix together:

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

Dredge chicken in cornstarch/flour. Have ready a wok or deep fry pan with 2 inches vegetable oil, heated to 375 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches, 3-4 minutes, drain on paper towels.

For the sauce, combine in a medium saucepan and boil until thickened:

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Add to cooked chicken to coat.

For the vegetables, stir fry in pan for 30 seconds:

1 pound string beans

1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, sliced thinly

Add:

2 teaspoons sesame oil

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When vegetables are cooked, add 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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