This is Arnold Crabtree, the “bee man,” wearing a beard of live honeybees at the Honey Festival in Lithopolis yesterday, an event swarming with beekeepers, Ohio honey products and a few men who wore mutton chop sideburns without one trace of irony. Most of the bees at the festival were kept inside of tents and behind glass, and the ones that were drawn to the honey tasting booths were treated with remarkable care. Beekeepers like Crabtree want you to know how gentle most honeybees are, and to draw attention to the working insects’ declining population.
I know, because my brother does some beekeping, that honey has potentially fantastic health benefits. For example, if you eat local honey that includes the pollens that afflict you regularly before allergy season, some say that it can help reduce your allergies.
I found out why Van Morrison sang about Tupelo honey, because I got to taste some on bread, and it was deliciously sweet. The Ohio State Beekepers Association had honeys from around the world for tasting, as did some of the local honey booths. We bought some local honey, extracted in spring, which has more of a kick than that of the summer. We also got some infused with peppermint, and a small bottle infused with lemon verbena. Yum.
Puns were plentiful and really kind of adorable. We missed the spelling bee and the honey cook-off, but it was a sweet afternoon in more ways than one.
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