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Bees Make A Buzz At The Forks Market

Jim Campbell of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association (centre) sets up a display at the ManitobaHoneyShowatTheForksMarketinWinnipeg.P hoto: ShannonVanRaes

By Shannon VanRaes

Co-operator staff

Kids and adults alike swarmed the Manitoba Honey Show early this fall, as apiarists took the opportunity to share their honey and insights.

The bees are important to Manitoba, said Ray Hourd, owner of Honey-Glo Apiaries near Anola. I hear from people who come out and complain quite a bit about the honey you buy in the big stores. Well, what we have here is different.

The 77-year-old, who took up beekeeping in 1996 after retiring from dairy farming, now has 65 honeybee colonies.

We really enjoy it, said Hourd, who starts his day with honey in his coffee and on his toast, while his wife uses it in baking.

I d like to see more people using honey, more kids eating things with honey and not with all that white sugar, he said.

Students from Sherwood School didn t need convincing as they marvelled over the show s observation colony.

We have wasps at the school, but of course this is quite different, said Sherwood teacher Ashley Knochel. They seem to be enjoying the bees.

Making people aware of honey produced in Manitoba and encouraging them to buy local is important, said Jim Campbell of the Manitoba Beekeeping Association.

The idea of the show is to showcase the industry to the public, he said while setting up for the annual event at The Forks Market in Winnipeg on Sept. 30. People can talk to beekeepers and have the opportunity to understand where their food is coming from.

The apiarist noted the theme of this year s show is pure Manitoba honey in many forms. Different products on display included beeswax bricks, dried honey, creamed honey, liquid honey and honey still in the comb.

We find that consumers aren t really aware of the difference between Canadian honey versus a blend, he said. Quite often what you find on the store shelves is a blend of Canadian and Argentinean, or Chilean honey, but people see the word Canada and the No. 1, and think it is all produced in Canada. It s not.

Campbell added the show, which began in 1963, is also aimed at making people more comfortable around honeybees.

We don t want people to fear honeybees, and we also take the time to explain the difference between honeybees, wasps, hornets and also bumblebees, he said.

Honey is a $20-million industry in Manitoba according to Campbell, that doesn t include the value of the work bees do in pollinating crops such as canola.

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We find that consumers aren t really aware of the difference between Canadian honey versus a blend. Quite often what you find on the store shelves is a blend of Canadian and Argentinean, or Chilean honey, but people see the word Canada and the No. 1, and think it is all produced in Canada. It s not.

JIM CAMPBELL

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