honeybees

Honeybees And Their Decline

Have you noticed an increase in price for honey, or maybe a decreased supply? In the past decade, the population of honeybees has drastically declined. Theories may help explain, however no scientist or bee-enthusiast knows exactly why the bee population is dying out.

Honeybees do more good than harm; in fact, most people never get stung by a honeybee. A bee’s purpose is to pollinate, and that is exactly what they are driven to do every day. As much as 75% of pollination of flowering plants and crops come from honey bees. Greenpeace states that the honeybee’s economic impact is almost $300 billion worldwide. This is because the pollination from the honey bee reduces the need for human pollination and in turn creates a large number of plants and crops for human consumption.

No Honeybee = No Food

Without bees, much of our food supply would be depleted. This goes far and beyond just fresh fruits and vegetables, although we would see the effect on produce the most. Without honeybees, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, apples and cherries would greatly decline. That is just to name a few. Other foods include cucumber, tomatoes, vanilla, coffee, cashews, and of course, honey. The list of all honey bee pollinated foods goes on and on and includes more than most would even think!

Without fresh produce and other pollinated foods, we as consumers would see the effects in processed foods as well. Without fresh berries, ice cream toppings in fruity flavors like strawberry would no longer be in production. Trail mix would cease to exist without nuts and dried fruit and any baked good would never taste the same without vanilla. Even our favorite t-shirts would start to change as bees pollinate cotton.

Why Honeybees Are Declining

There are many theories circulating around the globe regarding the decline in bees. No theory has been proven to be the definitive reason that honeybees are decreasing in population. However, many theories give way as to reasons which honeybees no longer fly where they used to. One of these theories has to do with cell phone towers. Skeptics believe that the cell towers mess with a bee’s sense of direction, therefore getting them lost in transit. The bees then drop dead because of their inability to return to the hive. This theory however, is not supported by many researchers.

The top two theories on the declining honeybee population have to do with pesticides and mites. There are many environmentalists and researchers who have discovered that when honeybees come into contact with pesticides, they often get sick and pass away. The pesticides intended to harm the insects that eat the plants really harm the bees. In addition, a certain mite has become immune to a common pesticide used to keep mites away from the hive. The mites infect the hive and therefor kill the colony. When the entire colony dies off, researchers refer to it as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. CCD also occurs when honeybees pollinate and spread harmful chemicals to other plants, passing it on to the next honeybee coming to pollinate the plant.

Measures to Bring Back the Honeybees

The honeybee epidemic is world-wide and many countries and states are taking measures to stop the epidemic from spreading. European countries have banned certain pesticides that harm bees, the United States has yet to do so. However, the United States Department of Agriculture has enacted government subsidies for efforts to save the bees. Many universities and companies are also dedicating large areas of land strictly dedicated to raising bees. In addition, the amount of local and independent beekeepers continues to decrease.

While many theories exist as to why populations of honeybees are rapidly declining, efforts are underway to reduce this declination. Honeybees are so important to both agriculture and economics. There is no way that life on Earth could be the same without them.

 

end food waste

2017 Food Trends- Food Waste Reduction

The third installation into our Trendy Tuesday segment will focus on food waste in restaurants. Reducing waste is both a top restaurant and top concept trend predicted for 2017. In simple terms, restaurant food waste describes any food or food product thrown out in the restaurant. This waste also extends to take-out, which ends up trashed if not eaten. The skins shaved off of the potato; waste. The leftovers you don’t take home; waste. The garnish on the plate no one eats; waste. This year, restaurants and consumers both look for ways to minimize food waste.

Food Waste Statistics

Food waste divides itself into two categories: pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste. According to the organization, End Food Waste Now, pre-consumer waste includes trimmings, spoiled food or overproduction. In contrast, post-consumer food includes uneaten leftovers or returned food; essentially any uneaten food that has left the kitchen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans waste 30-40 percent of the food supply. This equals to about 520 million tons of food from Food Waste Reductionrestaurants each year. Bottom line for restaurants; food waste can kill profit. While some restaurants compost waste, the majority end up in landfills. One might wonder why Americans produce so much waste. Simply put, food waste went almost unnoticed until recently.

Food Waste Solutions

 

Anyone from the government to the consumer can help solve the wasted food problem. In fact, the National Restaurant Association has teamed with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, or FWRA. This partnership strives to reduce waste by increasing donations and diverting unavoidable waste from landfills. Another resolution includes keeping track of tossed plated food, helping to control portions served. This may indicate your kitchen prepares too much food for consumption.  Other solutions include composting, storing food properly to ensure it does not go bad or re-purposing food.

An increasing number of restaurants have started to re-purpose food. In addition, “leftover meals” have helped feed soup kitchens, homeless and hungry. Turning scraps into meals are an easy way to re-purpose what would have become waste. For example, broccoli and cauliflower stems taste great mashed into soups or potatoes. Crusts or day-old bread also make a great crouton. One festival, Feeding the 5,000, partnered with an environmental organization and a Michelin-starred restaurant to reduce waste while feeding the hungry. This program turned many high-end restaurants’ waste from the previous night into enough meals to feed 5,000 for free.

As 2017 continues forward, think about ways your restaurant can reduce waste. While consumers love great deals on food, they now show concern about food waste as well. Many initiatives are in place to help reduce waste and restaurants and consumers alike can take action. For more information on this topic, and how you can help reduce waste, visit www.foodwastealliance.org.

Van Eerden Fall Food Show 2016

Every year, Van Eerden hosts an assortment of food shows across the state. This year’s Fall Food Show brought in hundreds of customers as a last hurrah of the food show season. We held this year’s food show at Soaring Eagle Casino on October 11th and featured new items, promotions and a Holiday Party the night prior. A total of 179 vendors in took the booths and hundreds of customers attended. With so much action the casino walls buzzed with excitement during the entire the two-day event.