Honey dates back to 2100 B.C., where it has been mentioned in the ancient writings of India, Egypt, Sumeria, and Babylonia as well as found in Egyptian tombs buried with the pharaohs (preserved and still edible!). Honey has long been used for healing purposes. The Romans were known to use honey to heal wounds after battle, Hannibal reportedly gave his army honey and vinegar as they crossed the alps on elephants to battle the Romans and during the 10th century, many fermented mead (honey wine) including kings and queens. The list of medical benefits is long. Honey aids in allergies, arthritis, burns, cancer, cholesterol, colitis, cuts, heart disease, sore throats and even weight loss. When combined with other substances like cider vinegar, cinnamon, ginger and more, honey has even more health benefits.
Honey has many practical uses in cooking and food preparation. Raw honey is a better natural sweetener than sugar because it contains organic acids, proteins, nitrogen elements, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. Honey enhances browning and crisping, flavors for both hot and cold drinks, provides texture along with moisture retention and color to pastries and rich cakes and can extend the shelf life and freshness of foods like sauces, meat, chicken, fish and most canned fruits and vegetables.
Honey is nothing short of a miracle food.
Gerard was born in 1900, the son of a crop farmer in Poland. Throughout his early years, Gerard was fascinated by the amount of crops produced at his father’s farm. He learned from local country farmers about the value and need for using the honeybee to aid in the cross-pollination and production of fruits and vegetables throughout the farming community. As a result, he started several colonies to increase the food production yields on his land. This led to an abundance of crops, which the family sold within their community. Gerard worked the fields and passed along his beekeeping knowledge to his son. They made enough honey from the pollination of their fields to sell at the local markets along with their other produce.
Gerard eventually emigrated to the United States with his family in 1945. They settled in Western Pennsylvania, in a small suburb of Pittsburgh. There he acquired a small farm, on which he grew crops and kept bees, enough for family consumption. Throughout that time and even today, the art of Gerard’s beekeeping knowledge was passed down through four generations, mainly as a hobby, on a “backyard” scale.
In 1985 one of Gerard’s grandsons moved to Northern California, settling in Livermore, to pursue a career in the data storage industry as an engineer. After 26 years, the fascination of the honeybee was revitalized as Gerard’Z Honeybees, started with three initial hives in 2011. The apiary continued to grow quickly over the next three years, as honey production and sales, pollination services, swarm removal, and beekeeping workshops were introduced by the company to the public.
Today Gerard’Z Honeybees continues to honor the legacy of Gerard by spreading the knowledge of beekeeping and honey throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley. Come join in the history, knowledge and fun by attending any of our beekeeping workshops, sampling our vast array of honeys and continuing to aid in the growth of backyard beekeeping through Northern California.
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