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Sweetening the Day with Operation Honey Bear Hug

A Testament to the Spirit of Sioux Honey’s Beekeepers

Mark Mammen, President Emeritus at Sioux Honey, summed up the initiative by stating, “Our beekeepers live in these communities, and they are some of the most lovable people you’ll ever meet. They’re all about sharing sweetness, so we decided to make this donation – our largest single donation ever – in their honor, to celebrate Sioux Honey’s beekeeper families.”

This sentiment underscores the deep connections and genuine care that Sioux Honey and its beekeepers have for their communities, driving the decision to contribute in such a significant way.

A Thoughtful Approach to Community Giving

Faced with the phase-out of their 8oz bear packaging, Sioux Honey saw a unique opportunity to support the communities around them. Instead of tossing the unused containers, the co-op filled them with their premium honey and distributed them to those in need. Mammen highlighted the suitability of this donation, noting, “Our premium honey is an ideal product for food banks and pantries because of its versatility. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated; it can be used to help soothe a sore throat or tame a cough; it’s a great natural substitute for sugar in baking; and it has an epic shelf life.”

Maximizing Impact Through Strategic Donations

The 30,000 honey bears were evenly distributed among five food banks/pantries, carefully selected for their reach and impact within their respective states. These donations were directed to:

  • Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo, North Dakota
  • The Idaho Foodbank in Meridian, Idaho
  • Second Harvest Heartland in Minnesota
  • South County Outreach in Irvine, California
  • Food Bank of Siouxland in Sioux City, Iowa

Through the careful selection of these food banks/pantries, Sioux Honey made certain that the donation touched the lives of numerous individuals and families, highlighting their deep-rooted commitment to extensive community support.

Beekeepers’ Role in Enhancing Community Connections

The involvement of Sioux Honey’s beekeepers in “Operation Honey Bear Hug” highlights the collective spirit and dedication of the co-op to community outreach. Many beekeepers, actively preparing for the almond pollination season, still participated in the distribution of honey bears to the food banks. This direct involvement showcases the beekeepers’ commitment to their communities and to the mission of Sioux Honey to make a positive, meaningful impact.

Continuing the Legacy of Community Support

“Operation Honey Bear Hug” is a testament to Sioux Honey’s commitment to making a difference in the communities they serve. By creatively utilizing their resources, the co-op provided a nutritious and versatile product to those in need, reflecting their ongoing dedication to quality and community support. As Sioux Honey looks to the future, the co-op continues to explore new opportunities to support communities and address specific needs, continuing a legacy of generosity and community engagement.

 

Bee part of something bigger, connect with our community today. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Bee Mine, Valentine!

Print, cut and share these colorful cards with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day

When do honeybees get married? When they find their honey, of course!

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we’ve created four fun cards that can be printed and cut out. Each one has a silly “dad joke,” and they’re perfect for kiddos to take to school for their parties.

Happy Valentine’s Day from “Sue Bee® Mine Cards!”

Click below to download the high-resolution version of the cards, then print and cut along the dotted lines for individual cards.

Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Sue Bee® Hot Honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  • Stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl; form a well in the center. Add cream, eggs, oil, and honey; stir until well combined and pour batter into the baking pan.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  • Slather on butter or drizzle with Sue Bee® Hot Honey if you really want to kick up the heat. Enjoy!

Pollinator-Friendly Gardens

Create a honeybee-friendly garden today!

You don’t need a sprawling homestead to create a bee-friendly flower garden. It can be a small area of your yard and as modest as a window container or rooftop patch. The goal is to add to the shrinking amount of natural flower-rich habitat for honeybees.

In return, the bees will pollinate your flowers and can help provide a harvest of fruits, seeds and vegetables that you and others in your neighborhood might plant.  Planting flowers and plants that honeybees, butterflies and other pollinators can forage not only helps sustain the honeybee, it also adds colorful, natural beauty to a yard. It’s a win-win. 

Colourful mix of wild flowers in wild flower meadow,

Before you get started, consider these five tips:

1. Plant native flowers – Plant flowers that bees in your area are used to – ones that are uniquely adapted to your region. It’s a good idea to visit a local garden center whose experts can help you find the perfect bee-friendly flowers. Plus, they will carry seeds and flowering plants that are specifically suited for your area.  Here is a site that can help you find pollinators native to your area.  https://www.pollinator.org/guides

2. Single-flower tops are ideal – Try to select single-flower tops for your bee garden, such as daisies and marigolds, rather than double-flower tops, such as double impatiens. Double-headed flowers look pretty, but they also produce much less nectar and make it tougher for bees to access pollen.

3. Variety is the spice of life for bees – Mix up the selection of the types of flowers you plant so you can have blooms during as many seasons as possible. That way, bees have a consistent food source on which to dine. More examples include: springtime bloomers – crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula and wild lilac; summertime bloomers – cosmos, echinacea, snapdragon, foxglove and hostas; fall bloomers – zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod.

4. No need to make it high maintenance – It’s important to remember that a bee-friendly garden doesn’t need to rely on constant upkeep. In fact, this is the type of garden that you can plant and then let grow.

5. About pesticides and fertilizers – Don’t use them in a bee garden. They can be toxic to bees. Ladybugs, spiders and praying mantises will naturally keep pest populations in check. If you must, use only natural pesticides and fertilizers.

Share your garden with us! If you plant a summer bee garden, we would love to see it. Be sure to post a photo on one of our social channels: Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

For more information about planting for pollinators check out this guide from https://www.pollinator.org/

Quick Start Guide for your pollinator-friendly garden.  Pollinator Friendly Gardens

Protein Waffles

Ingredients

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats

2 Eggs

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt (Plain or Vanilla)

SUEBEE® INFUSIONS® Vanilla flavored honey

 


Directions

Mix your ingredients together until smooth.  Turn on your waffle iron and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour your mix in and cook your waffle until it turns a nice golden brown color.  Remove your waffle and top with SUEBEE®   honey. For Add your favorite toppings like bananas or berries.  For extra protein add peanut or almond butter!

 

Honeybee Wallpapers

Download our free honeybee-themed screen savers

Looking for a fresh new background for your phone? Maybe a new screen saver for your desktop computer? We got you covered!

Click below to download your favorite. Or, try all four!

Honey Watermelon Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup ripe seedless watermelon

1 cup of ice

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp SUE BEE® honey

1/2 greek yogurt – any flavor

 


Directions

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or a refreshing snack! Additional add-ins for extra protein: almond butter or vanilla protein powder.

Summer Snack Time

Snacks are in high demand in the summertime. Kids are home from school. The days are longer. And all those outdoor activities makes us hungry!

No need to panic, though – we have you covered. Here are three new snack recipes that are perfect for summertime tummy rumbles:

Honey Apple Nachos

Click HERE to view the recipe for these delicious apple bites.

Honey Yogurt Bark

Click HERE to get the recipe for our honey-kissed yogurt bark.

Honey Apple Energy Bites

Click HERE to see the recipe for our Honey Apple Energy Bites.

Honey Apple Energy Bites

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 small package of Bare Baked Crunchy Cinnamon Apple chips

1/2 cup SUE BEE® honey

1 cup almond butter

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 


Directions

Pour oats into bowl. Place about half a bag of apple chips into plastic bag. Seal bag and then crush with hand or mallet. Pour crushed chips into bowl with oats. Add coconut and cinnamon. Mix well. Add almond butter and honey, stir well and form into 2-inch balls. Store in an air tight container and keep in refrigerator. Enjoy as snacks or breakfast on the go!

Keep Your Busy Bees Busy

Download and print our activity sheets!

Did you know hummingbirds, bats, bees, butterflies and beetles are ALL pollinators?! Insects, even the ones that aren’t pollinators, are important, too! For Insect Week and National Pollinators Week, we created a series of insect-related activities, including a maze and color-by-number worksheet so your kiddos can join in on the fun!

Click here to download the printable versions of the
activity sheets!

Slow-cooker Honey Chipotle Tacos

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. of boneless chicken breasts

1/3 cup SUE BEE® honey

1 packet of taco seasoning

2 chipotle peppers, from a can, packed in adobo sauce

1 tablespoon of adobo sauce

1/2 cup chicken stock or light beer

1 lime

Extra toppings: avocados, sour cream, red onions, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato

Tortillas


Directions

Spray slow-cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in chicken stock or beer. Place in chicken and add seasoning, peppers and adobo sauce. Squeeze juice from lime over all ingredients. Mix well. Turn slow-cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Serve immediately with tortillas and any toppings you desire!

Honey & Fruit Pastries

Ingredients

1 package of puff pastry dough

Pears, Apples or Nectarines – sliced thin

SUE BEE® honey

Powdered sugar

1 egg (for egg wash)


Directions

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place parchment paper on baking sheet. Pour quarter-sized portions of honey in four areas on baking sheet. Layer 3-4 slices of desired fruit on top of honey. Drizzle honey over fruit. Lay 4″ x 4″ squares of puff pastry on top of fruit.  Brush pastry dough with egg wash or butter. Bake for 12-15 mins. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Bee’s Knees Cocktail is Back!

By the way, do honeybees even have knees?

“Bee’s knees” – a famous cocktail, or a nice way to give a compliment? It’s both. And sometimes, you might even say, “This Bee’s Knees cocktail sure is the bee’s knees.”

Serendipitously, the two meanings of “bee’s knees” entered the English dialogue around the same time – in the 1920s. On one wing, “bee’s knees” is believed to have originated from the phrase “bee’s knees and cat’s whiskers,” which was a term used in the 1920s to refer to something that was considered excellent or top-notch.

On the other wing, “bee’s knees” also was used as the name of a cocktail that was popular during the 1920s Prohibition era, when people used ingredients like honey and lemon to tame the unpleasant taste of the moonshine gin that was available at the time. The original recipe was a simple concoction that called for gin, honey and lemon juice – honey to sweeten and lemon juice for a tart flavor – to balance the harsh taste of the gin.

After Prohibition ended in 1933, the Bee’s Knees drink lost favor as new and higher-quality (legal) liquors were made available. However, in recent years, classic cocktails and craft cocktails have become all the rage, and the Bee’s Knees is popular again. Helping fuel the resurgence is a trend toward natural ingredients. Honey, in particular, has become a popular ingredient in cocktails due to its unique flavor profile and what many believe to be health benefits.

Honey is a natural sweetener that is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. It is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cocktails. When used in the Bee’s Knees, the honey adds a subtle sweetness that pairs well with the tartness of the lemon juice and the gin. It’s a winning combo that has led several widely known New York restaurants to currently feature the drink on their menus. The Bee’s Knees is once again the bee’s knees!

Want to try one? The mix is simple

Click above to see how Sue Bee honeybees relax after a long day of gathering nectar.

Ingredients

2 oz gin

3/4 oz lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

1/2 oz SUE BEE® honey

Lemon twist for garnish

Directions: Just add the ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist. Cheers!

About those knees …

All this talk about bee’s knees got us thinking … do honeybees actually have knees?

Contrary to what the name may suggest, bees do not have knees. Insects have jointed legs, and the segments of their legs are called coxae, trochanter, femur, tibia and tarsus. These segments provide flexibility and allow bees to move their legs in different directions, but they do not have a knee joint like humans do, says Jürgen Tautz in his book, “The Buzz About Bees.” 

Tautz explains that the joint between the tibia and femur is commonly referred to as the bee’s knee, but it is not a true knee joint like those found in humans or other animals because it doesn’t have a patella and fibula that form the hinge joint. 

The more you know …

Bee’s Knees Cocktail

Ingredients

2 oz gin

3/4 oz lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

1/2 oz SUE BEE® honey

Lemon twist for garnish


Directions

Just add the ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist. Cheers!

Irish Honey Julep

Ingredients

1 tbsp SUE BEE® Honey

1.5 oz whiskey

1 Kiwi

1 cucumber

8 leaves mint

3 oz lime juice

1 oz tonic water

 


Directions

Muddle the kiwi, 2-3 slices of cucumber and 3-4 mint leaves. Pour liquid mixture into shaker. Add SUE BEE® honey, lime juice, tonic water, whiskey and ice into a shaker and shake until well mixed. Pour over ice. Garnish with mint leaves, kiwi and cucumber slices.

SUE BEE® Hot Hot Toddy

Curling up with a toasty-warm drink on a cold winter evening is a traditional nightcap for many. A hot toddy recipe – or, as some spell it, “hot tottie” or “hot toddie” – is simple: a little whiskey or brandy, a few spices, some hot water, and voilà! A hot toddy! And, of course, we always add a teaspoon of SUE BEE® honey to ours!

The origins of the hot toddy are blurry – kind of like your vision if you enjoy too many in one sitting – but they are often traced back to Ireland or Scotland, circa 18th century. Others trace the origins to British-controlled India during the same period. (And here we thought it was just a concoction our grandparents invented!)

Wherever they began, the hot toddy was – and still is – frequently used as a solution for colds to soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion. In fact, the hot toddy is so popular these days that it has taken on the role of chicken soup for adults. Feeling achy? Stuffed nose? Try a hot toddy. There’s even a chicken soup hot toddymade with chicken stock!

The word “toddy” is just as much a mystery as the origins of the drink. One belief is that it comes from the Hindi word “tari,” which refers to a type of palm sap that is fermented and used to make a sweet drink. That sweet drink was popular in India and Southeast Asia and, over time, became popular in other parts of the world, particularly in the Caribbean where it was made from other ingredients such as rum and honey. In the Caribbean, it is an especially popular drink during the holiday season and is usually served warm with spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon.

Of course, like many things, as time went on, the hot toddy evolved and has now become a popular anytime drink, especially for someone fighting a cold. And it’s still evolving today. Take our new toddy twist – the SUE BEE® INFUSIONS™ Hot Hot Honey Toddy. We’ve taken the traditional hot toddy and mixed in a half-ounce of our new zesty and sweet honey. It’s a sweet-and-spicy heat that turns that hot toddy on its ear. Want to try one? Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 oz whiskey, rum or bourbon
  • 1/2 oz SUE BEE® INFUSIONS™ Hot Honey
  • 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Cinnamon stick

Directions

In a teapot, bring the water to a simmer. Pour the hot water into a mug.

Add the whiskey, rum or bourbon, ½ ounce of honey and lemon juice. 

Stir until the honey has blended the hot water.

Taste, and add more honey more sweetness.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Enjoy!

Hired Wings

Almonds rule, but that’s not all honeybees are recruited to pollinate

When almond pollination season – mid-February to mid-March – rolls around each year, it means that, like many commercial beekeepers in the U.S., the Sioux Honey Co-op’s 200+ beekeepers have taken their honeybees to California to help with the state’s $8 billion almond industry.

How many honeybees? According to the USDA’s latest report, almond farmers paid to have 1,032,700 acres of almonds pollinated by honeybees in 2022. To pollinate that many acres, almond farmers needed about 1.88 million colonies of honeybees – about two hives per acre. With an average of about 40,000 honeybees per colony, that’s roughly 75.2 billion honeybees.

So … A LOT OF HONEYBEES!

Not just almonds

You might have heard an often-used phrase: Honeybees are responsible for pollinating one in every three bites of food. It’s hard to measure the accuracy of that but, in theory, it’s factual. Consider: We rely on honeybees and other pollinators to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food.

While almonds get the majority of honeybee pollination services (for our almond milk, almond butter, almond flour and other favorites), there are dozens of other fruits and vegetables that our beloved black-and-yellow insects pollinate – either naturally or as hired hands … err, wings. In fact, while other insects, like butterflies, provide pollination services, it’s the honeybee that pollinates the most foods we consume – more than 130 different fruits and vegetables. In the U.S. alone, honeybees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops every year.

Among the foods honeybees pollinate: apples, pumpkins, blueberries, cucumbers, onions, avocados, cherries, broccoli, cranberries, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, watermelon, and on and on.

Love coffee? Thank the honeybees for that; they pollinate the coffee cherry, which is a fruit, and the coffee bean itself is a part of the fruit. 

More on those pollination numbers

While the fruits and veggies on the rest of the list don’t match the million+ acres of almonds pollinated each year, honeybees do cover a lot of ground when it comes to paid pollination services. 

Apple farmers, for example, paid for about 120,700 honeybee hives to pollinate about 133,400 acres of apples in 2022. Blueberry farmers leased about 101,500 hives to pollinate about 39,900 acres during the same time. And cherry farmers employed about 134,300 colonies (about 5.3 billion honeybees) to pollinate 68,910 acres of cherries.

All of which means, if we could hug a honeybee, we would. Each and every one of them! It also means, we need to continue to do all we can to help the honeybee thrive. In recent years, the honeybee’s global population has been diminished by things like the decrease in forgeable land due to monoculture farming, the relentless varroa mites, and mysterious, hard-to-pinpoint reasons that often fall under the label of “colony collapse disorder,” where entire colonies disappear overnight.

Sioux Honey beekeepers – along with other commercial beekeepers – have been keeping up with the losses by helping create new hives through the “splitting” of healthy hives. Beekeepers take a portion of an established colony and transfer it to a separate hive nearby and, thus, create two colonies from one. So, while we’re handing out hugs, let’s pass a few along to our Sioux Honey Co-op beekeepers for doing their part to ensure the sustainability of the honeybee.

Honey Hot Hot Toddy

Ingredients

3/4 cup hot water

1 tbsp SUE BEE® INFUSIONS™ Hot honey

3 oz lemon juice

1 oz whiskey or bourbon


Directions

Bring hot water to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour into mug. Add honey, lemon juice and whiskey or bourbon. Stir with cinnamon stick and garnish with lemon slice.

Oven Fried Halloumi with Hot Honey

Ingredients

1 package of halloumi cheese (7-9 ounces)

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tbsp corn meal

2 eggs

SUE BEE® Infusions™ Hot Honey


Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut halloumi cheese into 1-inch square chunks. Beat eggs in one bowl. Pour panko and cornmeal into another bowl. Dip each piece of cheese into egg and then panko mixture. Place on non-stick baking sheet. Spray each cheese square with butter-flavored cooking spray to coat. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Dip or drizzle with hot honey!

Easy Air Fryer Gnocchi

Ingredients

1 package of gnocchi

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp paprika

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

SUE BEE® Honey BBQ Sauce for dipping


Directions

Pour gnocchi into air fryer. Cover with olive oil, paprika and parmesan cheese. Stir well to coat. Set air fryer to 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes. Cook until outer shell is lightly brown and crispy. (Note: For extra crispy, turn air fryer up to 400 degrees and cook for 2-4 more minutes) Dip in honey BBQ and enjoy!

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