April 17, 2015

Whole Foods is a regular stop for the Cooking Light Test Kitchen when we're shopping for particular foods that can be tough to find at other grocery stores. While checking out at WF recently, there was one of those tiny little sample trays, the ones that usually say “please try me.” These types of samples always give me a weird feeling, and I avoid tasting at all costs. I’m not sure why, but they just don’t appeal to me.

This one had the little plastic cups in it, each filled with about 5 almonds. Sitting next to it was a bag of Pollinator Friendly Almonds, complete with a cute Eric Carle-style honeybee. Since I know almond production is one of the greatest stressors on our American honeybees, I was curious what it was about.

I always like to ask “regular people” (aka non-beekeepers) about honeybees to get a feel for the public's knowledge about bees. After asking the cashier what the “pollinator friendly” statement was about, she said, “I don’t know—maybe bees helped make them.” Not exactly the answer I expected, but it showed there is always much to share and learn by all of us.

After getting back to my desk, I spent some time looking into Whole Foods' Pollinator Friendly line. It turns out that some almond producers are making a significant effort to provide additional forage for honeybees year-round. The farmers are partnering with The Xerces Society, which helps restore landscapes for the benefit of pollinators. The Pollinator Friendly–labeled almonds are coming from these farms, which is a huge step in the right direction.

This Saturday, April 18th,  every Whole Foods is hosting a Party for Pollinators. Some of the profits from sales of Cascadian Farms and Blue Diamond Products will go to support the Xerces Society and their efforts. Which, in turn, supports your efforts to eat good food.

Adam Hickman works in the Cooking Light Test Kitchen and as a beekeeper in Birmingham, founding Foxhound Bee Company in 2014.

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