From the director:

Hi everyone!

We decided I would write a short introduction to each month’s Buzz.

I LOVE the spicy and clean taste of ginger beer, so I am happy to share this recipe found in Parade Magazine earlier in the season. As summer draws to its end, I encourage you to try this simple refresher.
We are including a GREAT article about urban beekeeping. Perhaps one of the most important things about starting a beehive is to start learning about bees at the same time. Keeping bees can be very rewarding and fun, but it isn’t easy. If you are tempted to purchase the Costco Beekeeper’s Kit, think about what it really means to maintain a colony of about 25,000 honey bees. What will it take to keep them healthy? What do you need to know and where can you get that information?
My concern about Costco Beehive Kits: Beehives may be purchased without the necessary understanding of husbandry and maintenance. Shoppers will see the kit and most will think, ‘What a great way to help save the bees.’ (You purchase your bees and queen separately and they are not cheap!) It will be a great way to help our bee dilemma if each person who purchases a kit also takes the time to learn about maintaining their beehive.
My suggestion? Get the information first. Get the beehive later!

Amina Harris
Director, Honey and Pollination Center
at the Robert Mondavi Institute
for Wine and Food Science
Early registration discount ends September 1

Register here. 
Ginger Beer Recipe in Time for Summer
Mimi's Ginger Beer
By Mimi Sheraton, for
  • ¼ lb fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • ½ cup floral honey
  • 5 -8 whole cloves
  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • Grated zest of ½ lime or lemon
  • Ice, citrus fruit juice and/or dark rum, for serving, optional
Click here for directions.

** Notes from Director Amina Harris: I grated the fresh ginger with a fine microplane and reveled in the clean lemony scent of ginger. I used Sweet Clover Honey from the High Plains of America. This light honey has a distinctive cinnamon-y flavor that I thought would complement the Ginger Beer. According to my son Josh, keep the mixture in a warm place for at least a full day. That gets the fermentation going so the Ginger Beer will be nice and foamy. I was able to store it in the refrigerator in a sealed jar for about three weeks until I used it all up!

Safety Tips for the Urban Beekeeper


Urban beekeepers protect themselves by wearing a veil, gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, or a one-piece coverall and a smoker. Regularly checking a bee hive’s progress ensures the hive’s strength and health. During these checks, beekeepers observe for new brood; storage of water, pollen and honey; and individual bee health indicators, from mites to misshapen wing development. They also monitor the space available for the laying queen.

Urban beekeepers of all experience levels can continue to build their beekeeping safety skills by joining a local beekeeping association. Local and state-level beekeeping organizations distribute online information as well as newsletters, which provide an extensive source of information specific to regional beekeeping concerns. Beekeeping-association meetings and beekeeping conferences provide opportunities for urban beekeepers to learn about safe beekeeping practices and other concerns from guest speakers as well as a ready network of other beekeepers with which to share experiences. Beekeepers compare notes about the most docile strains of bees and recommendations for reputable beekeepers selling queens, nuc hives or packages.

Read the rest here.

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at the Robert Mondavi Institute, UC Davis
All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building
392 Old Davis Road
Davis CA, 95616

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