For any of you who may be strict vegans, you probably look at some of my recipes that fall under the vegan category, yet they still list honey as an ingredient. I completely understand why some people choose to cut bee products out of their life. Vegan means NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS and bees (insect or not) are indeed an animal. Some say bees feel pain when smoked (which prevents beekeepers from getting stung or making it easier to transport hives), some say taking honey from bees is unnatural and it starves them over the winter when they’re depleted of food. Some even go as far as to say it’s animal cruelty or enslavement to keep bees in a beehive that wasn’t constructed in nature.
Jim and I? We think about totally different aspects of bees and honey, since Jim maintains a thriving beehive of around 30,000 bees (it’s really hard to keep an accurate headcount with so many buzzing around). He’s been passionate about sustaining a colony since he read about how most food supplies are dependent on bees and found a woman who runs a bee warehouse in Woburn, MA that set him up with a starter hive. They’ve only been smoked one time (I really don’t think they minded it), we provided them a huge (organic) garden to enjoy and considering we’re around thm pretty frequently and have only been stung once, I truly feel like they’re at home here. It may all sound like some optimistic, unrealistic vision of what they go through, but in our eyes, they’re necessary for food and life in general, and the more bees there are, the better off we all are. They’re not being maliciously killed or butchered, and they still get to have some of the honey too.
So to us, it’s OK. Many vegans I know feel the same way– some don’t and that’s fine too. One thing I’ve learned about vegetarianism/veganism, is that everyone has their own beliefs, they’re own rules, and everyone’s personal food preferences are up to them and no one else.
But for those are you who are interested, here’s a look into Jim’s beehive! It’s really amazing and they’re such smart creatures! 🙂
(honey straight out of the hive)
(bottles of honey after straining- about a gallon)