News From the Hive
New Beginnings at Artie’s Harvest
By Sean Garmire
A new year has come again, and here at Artie’s Harvest, we maintain our deep optimism about the exciting paths this year will bring. There have been major changes in the honey industry over the past year, but with any change, there is opportunity. While many honey companies have unfortunately run low or completely dry on their honey stocks, the beekeepers at Artie’s Harvest have continued to maintain a steady supply of premium honey. Our cooperative of beekeepers have consistently proven to use sustainable and ecologically friendly beekeeping methods that keep the honey flowing, even during years of fire and drought, like 2021. Still, last year was a lean one for the bees, and honey flows were impacted across the West.
Blistering hot weather throughout the Pacific Northwest was hard on our hives, and the dry spell kept bees moving in search of water, while the flowering plants they rely on withered and dried. The drought was particularly hard on the bees in the first half of the summer. As the honey season progressed, late-summer rains brought out the blackberry blooms, and the bees began filling up their honeycombs once again.
Many existing companies that have lost their bulk honey supply have been relieved to find a dependable source at Artie’s Harvest. And we have several exciting partnerships with new companies that have been able to grow as a result of our competitive pricing.
Despite the hardships of the past year, demand for high-quality local honey has never been higher, and our hard-working bees are always able to match the supply. All thanks to the honeybees and the flowers they visit - we could not do it without them!
Fire Cider - A Winter Tradition
By Sean Garmire
As winter continues its long march, many people look for a way to boost their immune system and raise their internal thermostats. There is no better way to do that than a shot of Fire Cider - a tasty herbal folk remedy that gives a sweet and spicy kick on these short, blustery days.
There is no one recipe for Fire Cider, and the ingredients can change from year to year depending on what is available. However, perhaps the most crucial ingredient of all is locally-sourced, raw honey. The other standard base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish and hot peppers. There are plenty of other herbs and fungi that can be included for their added medicinal properties, such as turmeric, reishi powder or lemon peel or elderberry.
Honey is a natural way to fight off the symptoms of a cold or flu - it has properties that soothe a sore throat and help suppress a cough. And it is an essential ingredient in any Fire Cider recipe.
Fire Cider can be enjoyed by the shot glass or in mixed drinks as a healthy replacement for alcohol, splashed in fried rice or topped on a salad along with a dressing. Some people even bury their Fire Cider in the ground for a month, then dig it up during a feast to celebrate the change of the season! Personally, we like to mix a spoonful into a glass of juice at the breakfast table when we feel a cold coming on.
Artie’s Harvest Fire Cider recipe:
- 1 medium organic onion, minced
- 10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed
- 2 organic jalapeno peppers, minced
- Juice and zest from 2 organic lemons
- ½ cup Artie’s Harvest wildflower honey
- ½ cup fresh grated organic ginger root
- ½ cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
- ¼ cup fresh grated turmeric root
- ¼ tsp. Organic cayenne powder
- 1 tbsp. Black elderberry syrup
- 2 tbsp. Rosemary leaves
- 16 oz. apple cider vinegar
- Prepare the ingredients, and place them in a quart-sized glass jar.
- Pour apple cider vinegar in the jar until all the ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the jar’s top.
- Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
- Shake well!
- Store in a dark, cool place for two to four weeks. Shake the contents regularly.
- When contents have infused, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, and pour the vinegar into a clean jar.
- Enjoy on its own or as an ingredient in your own recipe!
This information is for educational purposes only - it has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor is it intended as a substitute for advice by a licensed physician or other healthcare professional.
Partner Spotlight: Three Little Figs
By: Sean Garmire
Liz Cowan, owner and founder of Three Little Figs, has found an incredibly delicious way to incorporate Artie’s Harvest into a unique recipe. Her Quince Honey Rosemary jam is a unique take on a Spanish classic recipe. Using organic quince, Artie’s Harvest honey and rosemary, this savory, sweet jam has a delicate floral top note and an earthy, herbal finish. It also has a delicate sweetness provided by our local raw wildflower honey.
Cowan is the chef behind her unique artisan jam company based in Portland, which has been open since 2011. There, she creates a delicious array of unique flavors. She specializes in savory jams, specifically made to pair with cheese and meat. Three Little Figs sources all of its ingredients carefully, and Cowen chooses only the highest-quality ingredients produced locally by small-scale sustainable farms.
Although the flavors of her jam are modern, Cowan uses traditional methods, including long boils in small copper kettles, and hand prepping produce in small batches. The quince from her recent recipe was grown on a local farmer’s three-hundred year-old rootstock – Cowan purchased everything he could grow, to ensure she had enough, and helped harvest them herself when they were at peak ripeness. Those quinces were washed and trimmed by hand, before being boiled in her traditional copper kettles. She is still amazed at how the quince, at first a delicate white, slowly turns to deep burgundy as it simmers.
Because of the small scale of her jam-making, it takes several days to create a batch. But it is all worth it, as the flavor in each jar is explosively delicious. She has a keen understanding that those preserves are only as good as the produce she sources, so she's particular about the farmers she works with. "First and foremost, I look for people who treat their product with the same level of integrity we have with our preserves," Cowan said. She partners with sustainable, local farmers and small family-run farms.
Three Little Figs has continued to grow rapidly over the decade they have operated, and she recently moved to a larger space in North East Portland. Despite scaling up, she refuses to cut costs by bringing in lower quality honey. “If you are going to take shortcuts,” she said, “you should just lock your front door and shut down your business.” When asked by Whole Foods to provide her preserves on a nationwide scale, she turned them down, saying “for now, I want to continue to supply the shops that have been faithful, and that helped build the company from the start.”
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