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USF Botanical Gardens hosts annual honey tasting event

The USF Botanical Gardens presented dozens of exotic honey flavors at the Fourth Annual Taste of Honey event on Saturday, Sept. 28.

For a $20 admission price, visitors were invited to taste honeys donated from around the world, including honey produced locally at the USF Botanical Gardens. Guests also were treated to food, live music, prize giveaways and beehive tours.

However, the event was more than a celebration of all things honey.

Staff and volunteers promoted safe beekeeping practices and educated visitors. Above all, the event provided financial support for the apiary at the USF Botanical Gardens.

Laurie Walker, director of the USF Botanical Gardens, said the Gardens’ beekeeping initiatives make a great contribution to the local community.

“It’s such an important part of good sustainable practices as far as gardening and we want to help to educate people about not using pesticides and how to keep our bees safe,” she said.

Thanks to the success of the previous year’s event, the staff was able to purchase a state-of-the-art honey extractor. The honey extractor is now available for any local beekeeper to come to the Gardens and use – completely free of charge.

In return, those beekeepers are encouraged to leave a sample of their honey to add to the Gardens’ growing collection.

Visitors were able to get a taste of that local collection – in addition to a dizzying number of honey flavors from around the world – and were dazzled by the vast spread.

Christine Wallace, environmental activist and Greenpeace Tampa Bay coordinator, stopped by and was delighted by the event.

“There’s so many different flavors!” Wallace said. “It’s just really mind – and taste bud – opening to experience all of the different nuances and delicacies of the different types of honey. It’s really a very delicious experience.”

In the spirit of volunteerism, students were on hand to help the event run smoothly. The staff at the Gardens hopes to continue to offer opportunities for them to contribute to the success of the apiary.

Brent Weisman, professor in the Department of Anthropology and volunteer beekeeper, said students who volunteer also learn to appreciate the importance of beekeeping.

“What we hope students learn through volunteering – not only how to manage a bee colony – but how you have to manage and live in a sustainable healthy environment that is good for bees,” Weisman said. “What’s good for bees is good for people.”

2013 A Taste of Honey from Michele Dye

- USF -

Filed under:Arts and Sciences Botanical Gardens    
Author: Dominique Benjamin