Sweet Treats: Spotlight on our Honey Suppliers

By Jennifer Wholey

ricks bees smIf you ask a beekeeper what comprises an average day on the job, they will all say something similar: when your livelihood is so tied to the seasons and other living creatures, there is no daily routine.

"The work is very seasonal, and there is no typical day," said Gil Menda, of Gil's Honeybees.

What is typical among GreenStar's three main honey suppliers — Ithaca Honey Bee Company, Gil's Honeybees, and Beeman Apiaries — is a deep love of nourishing small-scale local business. At every opportunity, GreenStar strives to support local vendors, and few products boast more health benefits tied to locality than honey, according to Grocery Buyer Morgan Greer. "We pride ourselves on sourcing our honey exclusively from local vendors," she said. "Luckily, there are several producers of delicious honey just down the road from us."

Of the three main vendors, Beeman Apiaries is the largest, and known to many by the moniker of its former owner, Rowland's. Current owner Joel Babcock purchased the business from Joe Rowland in March 2014, and he strived to make the shift as seamless as possible. "The bees are all taken care of organically, just like they were with Joe. Things are basically run the same — run the same way he did for years," Babcock said. "It was easy to transition. I just make more honey now."

Babcock started keeping bees with his father when he was 10 years old. He continued to keep a small number of hives for himself for the next four decades, and began working part time with Rowland in recent years. When Rowland decided to retire in 2014 (he still has at least a dozen hives in his backyard), Babcock purchased almost 400 hives and took over the business, with beehives stationed all the way from Pennsylvania to Ithaca, and Babcock the sole man at the helm.

Read more: Sweet Treats: Spotlight on our Honey Suppliers


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New in Bulk

Co-operative Cashews

Joe Damiano,
Bulk Department Manager

Aprainores Co-opOrganic raw cashew splits come to you via the Aprainores 
co-op in El Salvador, grown and processed by true survivors.

I want to shine the light on a product in our department that comes to us from people who have had to endure more hard times than most in this world. Our organic raw cashew splits are brought to us by the Aprainores cashew co-op in El Salvador. The 55 members of this co-op were given small parcels of land along the southern coast of El Salvador through a land-transfer program established in the 1992 Peace Accords. Prior to the war, the 175-acre cashew farm was the property of one foreign landowner. Grown on a protected mangrove estuary and processed by local women who literally hand-craft each individual nut, these cashews are the best I've ever tasted. In the words of Oscar Valladares, former President of the Aprainores cooperative, "During the war, my comandante told me that we were fighting for a house, a piece of land, and a business. Today, I have a house; some land; we co-own our business; and, my comandante ... is President!"

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