It was a beautiful day at the California Honey Festival! Since its inception as a partnership between the City of Woodland and the UC Pollinator Center, the California Honey Festival and the Honey Pollination Center at UC Davis, have worked together to develop an educational and fun format for learning about honey, bees, and pollination.
This free, fun, family-friendly event has something for everyone. Enjoy the honey tastings, cooking demonstrations (using honey of course), live music, and a variety of food vendors.
Kids of all ages can explore the Busy Bee Kid Zone. There are games, arts and crafts, book readings about their favorite pollinators and a bee show.
What I absolutely love about this type of food festival is that it is an “event experience” that inspires people of all ages to protect and celebrate bees and other pollinators.
Why Does this Matter?
You like to eat, right? Thank the bee! Bees are responsible for pollinating about 1/3 of all the food we eat, including most of the fruits, nuts, and vegetable that make our diets tasty and nutritious. Bees also pollinate many of our wild plants that in turn provide food and habitat for other wildlife.
Yet many bee species (California has about 1600 native bee species) are in decline. While we don’t know all the reasons why this is occurring, one thing is clear: bees need flowers.
One of the displays featuring plastic foods was a great conversation starter. The two trays of food, served as a show and tell of some of the foods we eat that depend on the bees.
Those gathered around, learned that in addition to making honey, bees pollinate crops like berries and almonds, that provide the majority of the world’s supply of certain antioxidants and Vitamins A, C, and E. Pollination also provides a lot of calcium, iron and fluoride. If you drink coffee, busy bees boost your morning caffeine buzz too!
Did you know that insect pollination produces robust apples and the tomatoes in your pasta and pizza sauce? Alfalfa leafcutter bees and alkali bees help pollinate the alfalfa necessary for dairy cows to produce cheese and butter. Even the chocolate chips in your cookies rely on pollination by tiny flies.
Bumblebees increase tomato and pepper yields, especially in green houses. Squash bees pollinate zucchini, squash and cucumbers, and avocados rely on honeybees. Some greens, such as mustard greens, are grown from seed produced by insect pollination as well.
Think about it … What would vanilla cheesecake be without the vanilla or the cheese? A chocolate cookie without the chocolate? A berry tart without the berries? A buttery crust without the butter? And a honey mousse without the honey. Dessert without pollinators could still be sweet, but certainly not as tasty.
It was indeed a wonderful day at the California Honey Festival, as the weather was perfect, the attendees were happy, friendly, courteous and kind, and the venders knowledgeable and gracious. I love the fact that this is a family event that enlightens our children, the next generation, to the goodness of our tiny buzzing buddies. And the icing on the cake for this day is that more people are now aware of the importance of bees, are perhaps inspired to plant bee-loving flowers, and support the local Bee farmers who produce this healthy age-old product.
The City of Woodland recognizes the importance of pollinators to our economy, our food systems, and our communities and has been designated a Bee City USA by the Xerxes Society.