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Buckwheat: a casualty of American agriculture

I have an emotional attachment to buckwheat—it’s that simple. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, special-occasion breakfasts were celebrated with buckwheat pancakes topped with buckwheat honey. These dark-colored, robust-flavored pancakes were started the night before with a yeast batter and cooked the next morning on a cast-iron griddle, sizzling hot. The cakes were served with fresh […] Read more

Goldenrod: a late-summer feast for the bees

Goldenrod is one of those plants that everyone knows, but no one can identify—or so it seems. The genus Solidago—to which all the goldenrods belong—is extremely variable. The flowers, the leaves, even the general silhouette of the plant can vary markedly depending on where you live. The ones here on the west coast have baffled […] Read more

The trouble with canola honey

The word “canola” was coined from the phrase “Canadian Oil, low acid”—a plant developed from rapeseed (Brassica spp.) with low levels of erucic acid that is suitable for human consumption. Rapeseed is a species closely related to vegetables such as turnips, collards, mustard, and cabbage. Rapeseed is a good crop for honey bees, offering both […] Read more

Joe-Pye weed for the pollinator garden

Joe-Pye weed, Eutrochium purpureum, is a tall perennial plant in the Asteraceae family that is well-known for its ability to attract butterflies and other pollinators to the garden. It was named for a native American herbalist, Joe Pye, who used it to treat various ailments, including fevers. A host of other names, including gravel root, […] Read more