Table 3 Market & Bakery : Pecan and honey squares

Pecan and honey squares. YUM!

TABLE 3 RESTAURANT & MARKET   This exceptional French cuisine bistro is located in the West Nashville Green Hills Mall, next to the Green Hills Regal Theater.  The market and bakery flanks the restaurant on its right side, parallel to the sidewalk leading to Regal Cinemas. Owners Wendy Burch and Elise Loehr enjoy discussing their fresh ingredients, cooking techniques and suggestions for pairing wine with menu standards and evening specials.

Sous chef Chris Johnson is a great enthusiast for using our high quality Sourwood honey in Table 3 savory dishes. He also favors Artisan Creamed Sourwood honey on the charcuterie and cheese platters.

Table 3 has the good fortune of employing two pastry chefs extraordinaire who bake all of the bread and desserts offered in their restaurant.  These talented women requested anonymity, so imagine your mom and her beautiful niece are in the kitchen baking your favorite sweets and you will be right on target.

Our Sourwood honey is featured in many desserts as a sugar substitute, a drizzled topping or the featured ingredient in homemade Cinnamon Honey Ice Cream or the Pecan and Honey Squares shown above.  I believe the Table 3 dessert edge comes from giving their pastry chefs a free hand in the kitchen and with their bakery menu. The results are the most delicious French pastries, awesome cookies and unique small batch ice cream in Nashville.

Stop in soon and tell them the Queen Bee sent you.  For more information: Table 3 Restaurant & Market


NATIVE PLANTS or EXOTIC PLANTS? Always choose native!

When purchasing DOGWOODS, always choose our native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), its popular with home gardeners and one of the most widely planted Flowering-Dogwood-Treeornamental trees. Unsprayed native Cornus florida Dogwoods attract honeybees and native bees.

Our flowering dogwoods co-evolved with the wildlife species that share their native ranges, and they produce berries at the same time that birds begin their autumn migration. Cornus florida produces fruit in the form of a drupe, which has high fat and calcium content and provides nourishment to many birds and mammals. Fruit is readily eaten by game birds, including wild turkeys, ruffled grouse and quail, as well as songbirds like cardinals, grosbeaks, robins, brown thrashers and cedar waxwings. Both the browse and the fruit are very important food items for white-tailed deer. Other mammals, including rabbits, foxes, black bears, chipmunks and squirrels often eat the fruit.

The National Wildlife Federation published reports in 2004 that the introduction of the Asian Kousa Dogwood by commercial nurseries and landscapers for the purpose of ornamental landscaping is responsible for an exotic anthracnose (a type of fungus) that slowly kills our native dogwoods. Kousa dogwood also produces fruits that are twice as large as native dogwood berries and inedible to most birds.

Flowering dogwood is also considered a soil builder. The leaves have very high calcium content (2-3.5%) and decompose rapidly making these minerals quickly available (Hepting,1971; Thomas, 1969). Positive impact on soil fertility is enhanced by its capacity to achieve maximum photosynthetic rate at low light levels found in the understory (Kramer and Decker,1944).

The majority of dogwoods used in the landscape are produced in Tennessee with an estimated farm gate value of about 6.18 millions of dollars in 1998 (USDANASS, 1998). Unfortunately these receipts have been impacted negatively in recent years by the following two diseases caused by fungi: dogwood anthracnose and powdery mildew.

For more info on Dogwoods visit “At Home Memphis and Midsouth” by Andy Pulite


First I want to congratulate Cedar and Stuart Anderson on their amazing Indiegogo campaign. It has been wild to watch and proves that crowdfunding works. I also wish you all the best in building and shipping all those bee hives to your thousands of funders. Bravo.

LIKE MOST OUTSPOKEN BEEKEEPERS, I have received 30+ links to the “FLOW HIVE” ads from family, loved ones and my blog fans. All sent with enthusiasm for the well-being of our beloved bees and each received with an element of skepticism. So before the next 30 arrive I’ve decided to break from my INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN THEME of a DAILY BEE FACT / HONEY RECIPE to address the three main concerns which Natural Beekeepers share about THE FLOW HIVE.

(1) PLASTIC  – THE FLOW HIVE relies on plastic comb foundation; it is not the first hive designed to utilize plastic comb foundation. In fact, within most beekeeping associations world-wide there is much debate over plastic foundation vs. commercial wax foundation vs. natural bees wax foundation. Each group demonstrates a strong argument in their favor and cites certain benefits for their bees.

Bees of Frames NCSU

A frame of commercial bees wax with natural comb attached to the frame. NCSU

In 2013, I was asked to take care of four hives in Sylvan Park Community, Nashville, TN. Two hives had an  interesting mix of plastic and wax foundation; the combination enabled me to observe firsthand what all natural beekeepers advocate. Given a choice, bees will choose wax over plastic. Left to their own devises, bees will build natural comb.

Hive comb is not simply a vehicle for honey, it is the living membrane of the hive charged with antibacterial enzymes that keep the queen, her brood and the entire colony healthy. Wax emerges from the thorax of 12 day old bees and is mixed with traces of propolis by chewing, then the softened wax is applied to the surface of the comb. I don’t believe this is a stage that can be easily edited from a new bee’s development or that wax production distracts bees from their work of collecting the “honey crop”. 12 day old bees are not adequately developed to forage for nectar; they are simply not ready, it’s like sending your 4 year old to the grocery store.  Building wax comb is a developmental stage in each worker bee’s life and as such, I believe, this stage is of dire importance in developing strong, disease resistant bee colonies.

(2) HARVESTING HONEY- The second concern among natural beekeepers is the implied notion that honey harvesting kills bees and so adding a nozzle to the hive will save bees. Yes, some bees get squished when beekeepers open hives. However, in a colony of 30,000 to 60,000 bees an efficient beekeeper may only squish 3-6 bees and a genuinely sloppy beekeeper may kill 30 bees and get stung as many times.

When I harvested honey at our Bucksnort Sanctuary last year, I pulled the frames full of honey, hung them next tohanging frames their hive and then went swimming until dusk. When I drove back to the apiary, the bees had returned to their hive and I loaded the frames full of honey into my SUV. There were a dozen lingering bees on as many frames of honey. Granted, I’m not a commercial beekeeper; but removing bees with a quick shake of the frame or blowing bees off the frames with a commercial blower is not responsible for the demise of bees…. Pesticides are killing the bees.

(3) HONEY ON TAP– My genuine concern about honey on tap is the opportunity to harvest too much honey; thereby leaving an in adequate supply of honey for the bees. Leaving enough honey for the colony is not just an ongoing debate, it is a constant challenge for all beekeepers. Weather, pests, intruders, disease all plague the modern beekeeper, but starvation breaks a beekeeper’s heart every time.

There is nothing sadder than seeing dead bees head down in the comb trying to find one more drop of honey. In my opinion, the FLOW HIVE in the hands of amateur beekeepers removes the one remaining barrier that often protects bees from inexperience, “the sheer intimidation of the harvest”. How could anyone resist the temptation to crack that tap open for the first harvest and how would any new beekeeper realize what is too much honey when you can’t see the result.

Nationally acclaimed Natural Beekeeper Ross Conrad says it best, “The health of a hive is the sum total of a wide variety of large and small details. Such a state of health can be accomplished consistently not by approaching the craft of beekeeping though an industrial, one-size-fits-all model, but only by recognizing and respecting apiculture as the natural biological activity that it is.”  And these are the points of contention between Natural Beekeepers and FLOW HIVE with it’s plastic foundation.


FACT 23- EXPOSED TENNESSEE HIVE    Rarely, swarms may initiate comb construction in the open if a suitable cavity Paris. Tenncannot be found. A gentleman came to my honey booth in September, 2014. We got to talking about bees and he shared this image taken on his farm in Paris, Tennessee.  The object in the beekeeper’s hands is a natural Honey Bee hive that was found hanging from a tree limb. The man in the image works for him and help to cut the hive down to place it into a box hive.

A hive of this scale out in the open is highly unusual for Tennessee; we may assume circumstance were ideal for several months. (1) Initially, the swarm could not find a suitable hive or cavity in a tree or rock formation, so they clustered in tree branches. (2) The queen was healthy and the swarm was very large. (3) The natural hive was suitably protected from stormy weather and temperatures averaged at or above 95*F. (4) No infestation of Varroa mites or Small Hive Beetles. These are some happy bees.

RECIPE 23 – WARM MILK and HONEY – Can’t wait to try this one.Honey and milk

INGREDIENTS – 1 cup milk, 1 tsp honey, 2 drops vanilla extract, 1 pinch ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS – Pour milk into a saucepan. Heat until the milk is very hot and begins to foam. Stir in honey and vanilla, and then sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

SOURCE: Pinterest pinned by Western Sage and KB Honey (aka Kidd Bros)


FACT 22: IS COLONY COLLAPSE FIXED? NO! Entomologists confirmed AGAIN in May 2014 a direct link between neonicotinoids and pesticides as the ONGOING cause of Colony Collapse. Here is the most recent published scientific study on this subject: Colony Collapse image  (NOTE: I’m sorry this piece lost formatting. Seems fine now.)

Study strengthens link between neonicotinoids and collapse of honey bee colonies Boston, MA — Two widely used neonicotinoids—a class of insecticide—appear to significantly harm honey bee colonies over the winter, particularly during colder winters, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study replicated a 2012 finding from the same research group that found a link between low doses of imidacloprid and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which bees abandon their hives over the winter and eventually die. The new study also found that low doses of a second neonicotinoid, clothianidin, had the same negative effect.

Further, although other studies have suggested that CCD-related mortality in honey bee colonies may come from bees’ reduced resistance to mites or parasites as a result of exposure to pesticides, the new study found that bees in the hives exhibiting CCD had almost identical levels of pathogen infestation as a group of control hives, most of which survived the winter. This finding suggests that the neonicotinoids are causing some other kind of biological mechanism in bees that in turn leads to CCD.

The study appears online May 9, 2014 in the Bulletin of Insectology.

“We demonstrated again in this study that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering CCD in honey bee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter,” said lead author Chensheng (Alex) Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology at HSPH.

RECIPE 24 – SWEET CHICKEN QUARTERS 2 – the perfect combo of organic chicken and honey

INGREDIENTS – 3-4 lbs chicken fryer or chicken quarters / ¼ cup honey – medium in color and flavor, such as alfalfa, citrus, clover or mild summer wildflower honey / 2 tbsp soy sauce / ½ cup butter at room temperature / 1 tsp cornstarch

DIRECTIONS – Preheat the oven to 350*F Place the chicken pieces in a shallow baking pan as flat as they will lie. In a small bowl, combine the sweet chickenhoney and soy sauce. Brush the chicken pieces with the butter, and they drizzle on the honey mixture. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is tender, basting often with the sauce. When done, remove the chicken to a serving platter. In the baking pan, make gravy by combining the drippings with any remaining honey mixture and the cornstarch. Serve over the chicken.

SOURCE: US National Honey Board recipe as interpreted by Kim Flottum for the Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook, Quarry Books 2009


queen bee 2FACT 21 – AWESOME QUEEN BEES – For up to three days, a virgin queen bee flies for the sole purpose of mating with as many drones as possible. Her eggs are not fertilized during these mating flights; the sperm from all of the drones is collected and stored in an organ called the spermatheca.

The queen can lay up to 20,000 eggs daily; each egg is released from one of her two ovaries then travels down an oviduct (an equivalent to the human fallopian tube) to continue through the spermatheca, where it is fertilized prior to being dropped into a beeswax comb cell. In this manner, a queen bee can fertilize thousands of eggs for the next seven years.

The queen’s primary purpose is to lay eggs.  Fertilized eggs become female worker bees or queen bees and unfertilized eggs become male drone bees. Even when she is carried by a swarm of bees to a new hive, her sole purpose is to populate the new hive with her brood.

The queen bee’s every need is met by her attendant bees, including feeding her and removing her waste. This constant attention is two-fold, to attend to the queens needs but also to monitor the queen’s pheromone levels. Her attendants touch the queen and then touch other bees until the queen pheromone reaches the entire colony; in this way, every bee knows their queen is healthy and actively laying eggs. Her pheromone levels will start to drop as her eggs are depleted; when this happens, the worker bees prepare queen cells for a new queen bee.

Get this stuff! Should the current queen be able to win in battle against a new queen, she will remain queen of the hive and continue to lay eggs. I just really like that part.  Eventually, the colony will sense another drop in pheromones and the cycle of introducing a new queen repeats.

Photograph by Penny De Los Santos-Diabetic cookbook, Author Amgela MedearisRECIPE 21 – BANANA POPSICLE are a great treats.

INGREDIENTS – fresh, firm bananas / Popsicle sticks / honey – a strong wildflower variety / granola

DIRECTIONS – Place wax paper on either a nonstick pan or a small baking sheet. Peal the bananas and cut them in half. Insert a Popsicle stick into each piece of banana. With a knife or spatula, spread my cardamom or cinnamon Artisan Creamed Honey on each banana.  Roll the banana in granola until completely covered. Place the Popsicle on the wax paper. Freeze and store each in a seal-able sandwich bag.

SOURCE: Carol Hagen, honey artisan


FACT 20 – HONEY BEE DRONES  Colonies allowed to mate naturally participate in “Drone Congregations” that look like a swarm of bees overhead at approximately 50 feet. A congregation may meet over a large mating yard or in an open area where two tree rows meet. Generally, drones only fly in favorable weather conditions: low winds, no rain and temperature at or higher than 65*F.

dronesInitially, drones step out onto the landing board to clean their antennae and eyes before their first orientation flights. After take-off, drones produce a characteristically low, loud buzzing sound which is different from the higher pitch produced by smaller female foraging bees.

Ideally a queen mates with 15-20 drones from several hives. When a virgin queen takes flight she is light weight with genuine stamina that enables her to fly 2-3 miles at a height of 100-140 feet; all the while she is releasing a strong pheromone trail that alerts the drones to her location. Only strong, healthy drones are capable of flying and mating at that height and pace. Its natures crowning rule: Survival of the fittest for diversity of the gene pool.

NOTE: The current American trend for Queen Raising workshops relies on artificial insemination of Honeybee queens; thus replacing natural selection with the opinions of beekeepers, pros and amateurs. Gotta wonder about that formula…

Click on the video link to hear and see a Drone Congregation.

RECIPE 20 – PAIN D’ESPICE an original old fashion French cake as adapted from the Larousse Gastronomique, an Pain D'Espice 2encyclopedia of gastronomy published in 1938.

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb (16 oz) of honey / 1 lb flour (white, rye or a preferably a mixture) / 4 oz superfine granulated sugar / 2 tsp cream of tartar / 1 tsp baking soda / 2 tsp aniseed / a pinch of cinnamon and cloves / grated zest of a lemon / 2 tbsp whole milk / extra sugar

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven 375*F

Heat the honey to a boiling point, then skim it and mix it into the sifted flour. Cover and leave standing for at least an hour to possibly a day. Knead in the sugar, baking agents and flavorings. Put in a buttered 23 cm-9 inch square cake tin. Bake for about 30 minutes. Then make syrup by mixing cold milk with as much sugar as it takes to become a syrupy liquid. Brush this over the hot cake, allow the cake to cool.

SOURCE: The Hive: The Story of Honeybee and Us by Bee Wilson, 2004, Thomas Dunne Books


FACT 19 – HONEY BEE DRONES – aka Male Honeybees – Drones are the product of an unfertilized egg; so technically, a 250px-Drone_24adrone only has one parent, the hive queen. Drones do not have stingers to defend themselves, but they are groomed and fed by female worker bees until they are needed.

Drones serve two purposes in the hive – historically to mate with a virgin queen from another hive and within the confines of modern apiary management, as bait for Varroa mites. Drones die in one of three miserable ways: (1) immediately after ejaculation or (2) immediately after being pulled from their pupae cell by a beekeeper who is counting Varroa mites or (3) at the end of the forage season when the female worker bees push the majority of drones out onto the landing board to die of exposure. The hive is a rough neighborhood for the male gender. More on Honeybee drones tomorrow.

RECIPE 19 – HONEY BRAN WAFFLES are a wonderful distraction from all this snow. Ahhh!

wafflesINGREDIENTS: Whisk together ¾ cup all-purpose flour / ¾ cup whole-wheat flour / ½ cup coarse bran / 2 tsp baking powder / ½ tsp salt / ¼ tsp baking soda – Whisk together 1 ½ cup buttermilk / 1/3 cup honey – try Sourwood for its woodsy flavor / 4 tbsp ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, melted / 2 large eggs / ½ tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS: Preheat your waffle iron. Preheat oven 200*F if making a large batch.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a second bowl. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. The batter will be thick and bubbly. Spoon a rounded ½ cup batter (or more) onto the hot iron. Spread the batter to within ¼ inch of the edge of the grids, using the back of a metal spatula, wooden spoon, or ladle. Close the lid and bake until the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately or keep warm in a single layer on a rack in a 200*F oven while you finish cooking the rest.

SERVE WITH: Try these delicious waffles with sharp Cheddar cheese and Cinnamon or Orange infused Artisan Creamed Honey

SOURCE: Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. Published by Scribner – original copyright 1931, my copy 1997 and still my go-to cookbook.


queen beeFACT 18 – QUEEN BEE PIPING The royal advantage starts with a diet of Royal Jelly that enables a queen to develop into the largest bee in the colony in the least number of days. On day 15-16 a queen bee chews a circular hole at the base in her peanut shaped cell; she emerges from the trap door with a singular seek and destroy mission. She slashes open other potential queen bee pupae with her stinger and calls them to battle with her piping; the piping cry has been recorded as a G#.

A virgin queen may frequently pipe before she emerges from her cell and for a brief time afterwards. Mated queens may briefly pipe after returning to their hive or being released in a new hive.

Piping is the most common queen cry, but is not the only sound emitted by the queens. Fully developed virgin queens communicate through vibratory signals: “quacking” from virgin queens can be heard while they are still in their queen cells and “tooting” from queens who roam freely among their colony. All queen sounds are collectively referred to as “piping”.

RECIPE 18 – CURRY HONEY SAUCE for a savory pairing with roasted sweet potatoes

INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup mayonnaise / ½ cup Greek yogurt / 1 tbsp fresh lime juice / 1 tbsp honey / 4 tsp curry powder / lime wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS: In a mixing bowl whisk mayo, yogurt, lime juice, honey, curry, salt and pepper.

SOURCE: Nov. 9, 2012 Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Curry Honey Sauce


FACT 17 – HONEY ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES For millions of years, bees and people have benefited from the antibacterial properties of the honey and propolis their bee stomach enzymes make from nectar and tree resin. “The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance,” said study leader Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D. That is, it uses a combination of weapons, including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols — all of which actively kill bacterial cells, she explained. The osmotic effect, which is the result of the high sugar concentration in honey, draws water from the bacterial cells, dehydrating and killing them.” Click link to read this article.

RECIPE 17 – HONEY FLAN is an elegant desert and one of my favorites!

INGREDIENTS: 7 tbsp honey – orange blossom or cardamom infused ARTISAN CREAMED HONEY/ ½ cup sugar / 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk / 1 cup milk / 3 large eggs, 1 large egg yolk / ¼ tsp kosher salt

honey-flans-sl-xDIRECTIONS: Stove top and preheat oven to 350*F.

Sprinkle sugar in a 3-qt saucepan; place over medium heat, and cook, gently shaking pan, 4 minutes or until sugar melts and turns a light golden brown. Slowly stir in 3 tbsp honey: mixture will clump a little; gently stir just until melted. Remove from heat; immediately and pour the hot caramelized sugar into (6) 6oz ramekins. Process condensed milk with the remaining ingredients including the remaining 4 tbsp of honey in a blender for 10-15 seconds or until smooth; pour evenly over sugar in each ramekin. Place ramekins on a 13 x 9-inch pan. Add 1-inch of hot tap water to the pan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350*F for 30-35 minutes or until slightly set. Flan will jiggle when the pan is shaken. Remove ramekins from water bath; place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

To serve: Run a knife around edges of flans to loosen; invert flans one to serving plate. Drizzle with honey or fruit juice.

SOURCE: Southern Living, March 2014 and published on Link to recipe. Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas