Spring in Washington DC can only mean one thing: Michelle Obama’s bees are busy pollinating. The First Lady, who is known for her outspoken commitment to healthy food initiatives, has also been keeping a beehive on the property in addition to her plentiful White House garden.
If you were fortunate enough to be invited to watch February’s Super Bowl at the White House, you’ll likely recall sipping some Presidential home-brewed White House Honey Ale, which used honey sourced from the White House Hive. The hive produced 160 pounds of honey last season and has found its way into a number of dishes and desserts courtesy of the resident pastry chef, Bill Yosses.
The Obamas are part of a growing trend of many small beekeepers that are cropping up in the wake of massive bee deaths, attributed to toxic pesticides. Managed by long-time White House carpenter turned beekeeper, Charlie Brandts, the hive augments Mrs. Obama’s garden, which is an extension of her work with food and health in campaigns like her successful Let’s Move program.
Bees produce honey after pollination. While it’s not low glycemic, it is still not as refined as white sugar or high fructose corn syrup, so it breaks down slower in the body with less of a sugar spike, which can keep insulin levels more balanced, and may prevent the onset of diabetes if used in moderation in place of refined sugars. Beekeepers are also said to be among the longest living people, which is attributed to the anti-aging properties found in the venom in bee stings. Additionally, bee pollen and royal jelly (by-products in the honey process) are considered superfoods with many health benefits that may add to the health and longevity of beekeepers.
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Photo: Don Hankins