Monthly Archives: July 2011

Myth Busting Honey: What You Thought You Knew


Without much to distinguish the good honey from bad, how can you tell whether to spend 10$ or 100$?

There has been a long pause in posts since last week, largely due to weddings, Kars’ infamous electricity outages, birthdays, travels, visitors, visa runs, and days stock-full of, well, work. As I catch up with all of the 10 posts that I owe you, here is my challenge for you: what are the most popular myths about honey? (more…)

Snakes, Shoots, and the Awesomeness of Artvin Unleashed


My dream Artvin house: wood, kilims, and a perfect view for my inner teyze indulgences.

Today, I awoke with a craving for gum that tastes like a tree. I admit this is a random desire, particularly since I once purchased this kind of Turkish gum to feed to my foreign friends as a prank. But with my new found love of eating the grassy plants one could find in a town median (thank you Kars), it only seemed right to want to eat a tree now that I am in the forested mountain slopes of Artvin. (more…)

Bees without Borders: Flying between Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia


Queens in Posof, ready to hatch.

Everyday my quest to learn about honey in Turkey brings me closer and closer to borderlands. More often than not, many of the beekeepers who are considering organic certification over the next year are within jumping distance of the Georgia and Armenia borders. Having visited over 60 beekeepers in this situation over the past week, here is a quick snapshot of a border-beeing. (more…)

Women in Turkey’s Northeast: Ready to Lead Organic Revolution


Faryal Cagislar, Ferha Yildirimtukr, and Oya Kardas work together to learn beekeeping with their first set of organic beehives at Kafkas University in Kars.

Women in Turkey’s Northeast are positioned to lead an organic beekeeping revolution.

Let me tell you why. (more…)

Did you just say the O word? Organic?


Here for honey? Welcome!

I live in Kars, Turkey, which is a town almost entirely dedicated to selling honey, cheese, meat, and milk products. On any given block, I estimate that an average of 72 percent of the shops sell honey. Golden jars of all colors sit in windows, and honeycomb glows like wall art or stained glass. After learning the basic honey words: bal (honey), urun (product), kovan (hive), petek (comb), cicek (flower) you start to see them everywhere, along with stacked bee boxes, white beekeeper suits, tin smokers, and rectangular honey frames.  Even in the cell phone stores there are little boxes labeled with cicek bal, flower honey. In.the.cell-phone.stores. CELL PHONE STORES! (more…)

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