Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teff, Oatmeal, and Honey Pancakes

Today we bring you a new healthy honey pancake recipe.  We made these on Monday and they were terrific.  We enjoyed them with homemade jam as a topping, but they are also great with honey or maple syrup.  Teff flour is a whole grain flour made from the smallest grain in the world.  It is a great source of fiber, protein, and iron.  I purchased mine from Walnut Creek Cheese in Holmes County, but you can also find it at most natural foods sections of a local grocery- specifically the area with the Bob's Red Mill flours.

Teff, Oatmeal, and Honey Pancakes

  • 1 cup (200 grams) ground teff or teff flour
  • 1 cup (140 grams) whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fall honey
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (270 grams) cooked oatmeal(rolled oats, 1/2 cup uncooked)
  •  Butter or oil as needed for cooking
  • 1 cup blueberries, black raspberries, or red raspberries
  1. Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the honey, milk, canola oil and vanilla. Quickly whisk in the flour mix. Do not overwork the batter. Stir in the cooked oatmeal.  (To make the oatmeal, I mixed 1/2 cup rolled oats with 1/2 cup water and cooked it for 1 min in the microwave).
  3. Heat a griddle or a large skillet, either nonstick or seasoned cast iron, over medium-high heat. Brush with butter or oil. Use a 1/4-cup ladle or cup measure to drop 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter per pancake onto your heated pan or griddle
  4. Place 6 to 7 berries on each pancake, gently pressing them down into the batter. When bubbles break through the pancakes, flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute, or until they are brown on the other side. Serve right away, or allow to cool and wrap individual servings in plastic, then place in a freezer bag and freeze.
Adapted from the New York Times Cooking, Teff and Oatmeal Pancakes, Martha Rose Shulman.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Be Still My Heart

-Posted by Isaac

A few weeks ago Jayne and I were invited to promote bees and bee products (sell honey) at COSI. It was part of the "Sustainability Series", a once a week showing of an independent film which dives into some poignant issue touching our world. That week the issue was honeybees, and we had the pleasure of watching "More Than Honey."

The film was fantastic, the photography was amazing, but we left with somewhat of a sour taste.
Here's why- shortly into the movie you could sense a distinct and biased angle, a bent that persisted throughout the film against the "evils" of commercial beekeeping. You'll feel this bias just by watching the two minute trailer. (By the way, Einstein didn't say that.)
The film maker seems to have things figured out: the cause of CCD, the reason for honeybee decline is commercial beekeeping and the pollination service to modern industrial agriculture.
And for all I know this may be true.

Big beekeepers do live and work in a chemically dependent, screwed up, unnatural system. They do truck bees around, they do, as John Miller stated, "deal with death on an epic scale." But I think the film seriously over-explored the "dirty" parts of big beekeeping and understated or misinformed the viewer about the importance of beekeeping on a commercial scale. I really felt my blood pressure go up at times... it's not the old man beekeeper in the beautiful mountain meadow who puts food on my plate! It's John Miller! It's Ed Eisele! (previous post) It's my old boss Wayne Morris and now his daughter, taking up the commercial reins. These are extremely valuable people, not the evil capitalist pigs that the film would lead the viewer to believe.

There are maybe 1200 of these men and women in the country. In the country! These are truly exceptional people. They manage to keep bees alive and get strong colonies placed in the orchards and the fields at the critical right time. This takes great skill, experience, know-how and at times a little luck. These people work hard, long hours full of sweat and dirt and huge chunks of the year away from their families.  Believe me, I know. They indirectly provide you and I with about a third of our food. The good parts of our diet- nuts, fruits, veggies... these people are the gatekeepers.

Is it for money? Of course. Good money. But they're not money hungry capitalists, as the film insinuated. The few commercial beekeepers I know, do it for love. For the love of bees and love of the lifestyle. (Wayne Morris: "Isaac, we're the last real cowboys.") They know they have a duty of key importance, and they're quietly proud in that knowledge. 

Ok movie over.
Time for my almond season tip-of-the-hat to commercial beekeeping.

Sorry to do this again, but I'm gonna, embarrassing as it is...
The year on the road with a commercial beekeeper taught me many things. For one, I don't want to do it. That is, I don't want to do it unless I'm the boss. This song is one thing I got out of that experience.
It's a love song, sort of. And a trucking song, sort of. I was in California with the bees and Jayne was back in Montana with school. It was midFebruary and the almonds were in bloom. 
Here you are. Poor singing from our "recording studio" in the honey house. Enjoy, and Happy Valentines!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Business" Trip

-Posted by Isaac

Last week, Sunday morning, Becky and I set out for south Florida.
Becky is my rich produce-farming sister. Just the night before she had thrown a big crazy party for her rich farming friends.

I drove.

The goal: find Ed Eisele and buy a skid-steer forklift. Pictured below, you can see the skid-steer in action. This machine will hopefully one day come in handy around our little bee farm.

Ed Eisele is a commercial beekeeper.

He has a few hives.

And some nice toys.

Ed winters his hives in south Florida and summers them in Michigan. In between, he chases the big bucks in the California almonds.
This load was the last one of 15 heading west. All netted up and ready to ship out by 9 pm.

The next morning I got my "new" skid-steer.

Don't worry, Ed.
We got this.
 5000 pounds heavier, 1200 miles to get home. It was time to put my frumpy old truck to the test.

 But first, some fishing. It was south Florida after all.

Becky's hangover had worn off by Tuesday.
We really did pretty well. About twelve miles off the coast of Naples; constant fish coming in. Mostly red snapper and Atlantic white grunt. Mostly small... but good eatin'!

On the way out we watched the private jets fly into town.

On the way in we marveled at the second homes and yachts.

Naples is such a playground.
A place vegetable farmers go to retire.

Becky's future boat

Up the coast to Ft. Myers Beach. The weather was beautiful-- 75 degrees and sunny.

Time to find a spot for some free camping.

Around midnight we had one small brush with the Ft. Myers police, but it was nothing a wink and a bribe couldn't handle.

It's hard to hide with this outfit!

Finally, some shelling.
My mother told us that Sanibel Island was a famous spot for finding cool shells. It's also another spot where the wealthy hang out. Becky just loved it.

We spent the morning and it didn't disappoint.

A run up the beach was full of surprises.

In many places someone got creative.

It was a slow trip home but we made it by Friday, no worse for the wear.

Now our kids can also be creative.

These beautiful treasures have made their way to the couch cushions, the porch cupboards, the floor of the car and other spots of oblivion...fated to soon be crumbles and dust in a drier, less grand oblivion whence they came.