This much is true: honey is good for you. It’s rich in antioxidants (especially buckwheat honey), it’s beneficial to the skin, and it can lower triglycerides which is healthy for the heart. Oh, and it tastes great slathered on toast or in a pot of thick Greek yoghurt. But as everyone knows, bees are in trouble, and need our help.
A rise in the popularity of beekeeping has been welcome news for our most beloved pollinator, but keeping hives in the city has drawbacks: a study of honey harvested from urban bees in Vancouver showed trace elements of heavy metals, including cadmium, copper, lead, arsenic and zinc. Meanwhile, in a recent story in The New York Times, a Cornell University professor, Scott McArt, specializing in pollination, told of a study of Manhattan bees communicating to their fellow pollinators that the best pollen could be found not in the flower troughs and parks of New York, but across the Hudson River in New Jersey’s meadows.
We recommend that humans follow the instincts of the bees and cross the river, and then keep going through New Jersey, and all the way up the Delaware Valley to Narrowsburg, the beekeeping capital of New York – which hosts its 4th annual Honey Bee Fest on Saturday, September 22. With the region’s abundant forest canopy, apple orchards, and rich tradition in organic farming, plus the diverse riverside flora, there’s little risk of accidentally covering your English muffins with pesticides or heavy metals when you indulge in the local honey.
The one-day festival take place in the heart of this beautiful river town that has emerged as a favorite destination for New Yorkers, thanks to its location on the Delaware River, several excellent restaurants, boutique homeware stores, and specialist shops including Narrowsburg Proper, a food emporium that sources regional and international gourmet products. It’s also owned by Joan Santo, the creator of Honey Bee Fest.
With a new luxury bus service to Narrowsburg, operated by Catskill Carriage (departing NYC at 4pm on Fridays; tickets $55 each way if booked five days ahead), and plenty of Air BnB options, why not make a weekend of it? In addition to a street fair on Main Street featuring honey vendors, mead tastings, beekeeping classes and cooking demos, there will a special performance by the Wallenpaupack Marching Band, dressed as bees.
With honey bees in decline, expect to hear a vibrant rendition of the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive,” among other numbers. And then book dinner and brunch at The Laundrette and The Heron, two Narrowsburg mainstays that could easily hold their own with the best of New York City. Honey is guaranteed to be on the menu.