Dripping Springs, Texas is well-known as the “Gateway to the Hill Country.” Just 20 minutes west of Austin, Dripping Springs attracts folks to live music venues, rodeos, wineries, craft breweries and local distilleries. This past weekend, Lone Star Bee Company was thrilled to participate as a specialty vendor at the 10th Annual Dripping with Taste Wine & Food Festival.
Dripping with Taste festival showcased many Texas vineyards and wineries, breweries, distilleries and gourmet food fares from the area. The festival also included cooking demonstrations, drink mixology classes, and specialty vendors – like Lone Star Bee Company! Rum, vodka, gin and even whiskey distilleries joined the party. It was a true celebration of the Texas Hill Country and the flavor of Texas!
Thank you to those who came out to see us. We had a wonderful time and can't wait to come back again for the 11th Annual Dripping with Taste Wine & Food Festival next year!
(Click on photos to enlarge. Hover over photos for captions).
Near our place in Houston, the Buffalo Bayou runs through our neighborhood, as does the major thoroughfare Memorial Drive. Memorial Drive follows alongside the Bayou, connecting downtown Houston to the Galleria area. After Hurricane Harvey hit this past week, the Buffalo Bayou overflowed to a level higher than ever in its history. We suddenly had a lake in our neighborhood when Memorial Drive was covered completely with the Bayou's water.
The tall building in these photos is the AIG Building, which is positioned on the opposite side of Buffalo Bayou. The entire city endured extremely high water which caused over 100,000 homes to become severely damaged or totally destroyed. Thousands of people were displaced and were temporarily housed at downtown's George R. Brown Convention Center and also at NRG Center, located at the NRG Stadium in the south part of the city.
Lone Star Bee Company was very lucky. We suffered no losses. But, we watched our fellow Houstonians on television who were in need and we joined H-E-B Grocery to help.
H-E-B has three mobile kitchens that are constructed inside tractor-trailers. Each trailer is a full kitchen. As they traveled from one location to another to render aid, several tractor-trailers followed along with food and supplies. H-E-B came to NRG Center on August 30th and 31st. We helped H-E-B distribute breakfast and lunch to hundreds of people who had been sheltered at NRG for days. Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B, was there to help, as was U. S. Senator for Texas, Ted Cruz. Both gentlemen were great listeners as the victims of the hurricane told their heartbreaking stories of how they ended up at the shelter.
We are hoping for a very speedy recovery for Houston, and for the many fine Houstonians who were completely overwhelmed by this catastrophe. #HoustonStrong
Looking for a new cocktail recipe? This is a feisty and fun one!
*To make honey syrup, thin the honey out with equal parts hot water. This will allow for the honey to integrate easily throughout the cocktail.
Note: For those who like extra heat, increase Fiery Sweet Mesquite honey syrup to 1.5 ounces.
Mark and I are thrilled to tell you that Lone Star Bee Company has been selected as a Finalist in H-E-B’s 2017 Quest for Texas Best contest! Our Fiery Sweet Mesquite infused honey and our Lucky Lime & Sea Salt infused honey have both caught the eye of H-E-B and we can’t wait to show our favorite grocer how well our infused honeys pair with so many foods.
A couple of years ago, Mark and I noticed H-E-B’s ad in the Houston Business Journal showcasing the winners of the previous year’s contest. We pasted the ad on our fridge at home and looked at it each time we visited the kitchen, hoping that one day we would be ready to enter the contest. Earlier this year, we threw our hat in the ring. Today, we are pinching ourselves that we made it this far.
Lone Star Bee Company is honored to be a part of this exciting H-E-B journey!
The queen bee is the “mother” of all the bees in her colony. Each honey bee colony will be ruled by only one queen at a time. She begins her life as a tiny larva, selected by worker bees and fed a special diet of exclusively royal jelly, which allows her to grow into an adult queen bee.
Worker bees take charge in creating a new queen whenever one is needed in a colony. Space constrictions, poor egg laying performance associated with the queen’s age, or perhaps the unexpected death of a queen will trigger worker bees to get right at work.
Queens are raised in special cells, fittingly called queen cells, which resemble the shape and texture of a peanut and are constructed by the worker bees. The old queen lays an egg in the queen cell while it is in the early stages of construction. The worker bees then continue building the remainder of the queen cell around the egg. In just three days, the egg will hatch into a larva. After eight days, the cell that houses the queen larva will be fully encapsulated in beeswax by the worker bees. Once encapsulated, the queen transforms into a pupa. After 16 days, she is ready to emerge as the queen bee of the colony.
She will fly only once in her lifetime and this flight event is referred to as her “maiden flight”. The purpose of the maiden flight is to mate with several drones before returning to her colony for the remainder of her life. Thereafter, the queen’s only job is to lay eggs…sometimes more than 1,500 eggs each day!
It is typical for a colony of bees to construct a few queen cells at one time, in order to better their odds that one queen will survive her maiden flight, mate, then return to the colony. In the photo above, the worker bees have created three queen cells side-by-side, and only one of these queens will emerge victorious.
The first queen to emerge from her queen cell will immediately begin searching for other queen cells. She makes her best effort to kill all the other queens, while they are still encapsulated inside their cells, by stinging them through the wall of the cell from the outside. Queen bees do not have a barbed stinger, so she can user her stinger repeatedly, without the threat of dying.
Who knew honey could be such a fantastic ingredient in cocktails? And, our Lucky Lime & Sea Salt Clover honey is exceptional in mixed drinks!
Lately, Mark and I have become mixologists of sorts. We’ve been toying around with our infused honeys as a fun ingredient in cocktails, and this cocktail is truly wonderful. We have taken the classic Paloma (Spanish for “dove”) and changed it up just a bit and I have to say, our twist on this recipe is invigorating. It is a perfect drink to sip on in the summertime; when lounging by the pool, after a hard day’s work in the yard, or celebrating with friends and family on the Fourth of July. Here’s our Honey Paloma recipe, give it a try!
We Olive & Wine Bar is now open in Houston! The shop features premium artisan domestic wines, olive oil inspired small plates, craft beer and events with artisan producers and winemakers. Stop by for a complimentary tasting of California Extra Virgin Olive Oils, vinegar, and gourmet foods that are offered daily.
And while you are there, pick up our raw infused Fiery Sweet Mesquite and our Lucky Lime & Sea Salt Clover honeys. Our infused honeys are fantastic when drizzled on your favorite everyday foods, such as pizza, chicken, pork, veggies, desserts and even in mixed into your cocktails. We have been surprised (and inspired) to hear how folks are using our infused honeys so creatively. Feel free to share your clever cooking ideas with others on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. There’s a chef in everyone!
We Olive & Wine Bar is located in The Heights at 249 West 19th Street in Houston, Texas and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10AM until 9PM, Friday and Saturday from 10AM until 10PM, and on Sunday from noon until 6PM. We can’t wait to see you there!
Lone Star Bee Company now offers a plain raw honey created by bees located in the Blackland Prairie region of central Texas! This wildflower blend is rich and sweet and stands on its own, so we’ve decided to offer this honey in its natural state and not infuse it with other ingredients – it is perfect as is!
This honey tells a unique and inspiring story about the Blackland Prairies of Texas. The region was named the Blackland Prairie from the rich soil once found throughout the prairie. The Blackland Prairie includes two narrow swaths of land of nearly 20,000 square miles running from the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border, through Dallas / Fort Worth and beyond San Antonio. In the early 1800s, the region was a tallgrass prairie, but by the end of the century most of the prairie was converted to farmland. Once a home for animals such as buffalo, wolves and jaguars, today the Blackland Prairies consist of less than one percent of its original prairie due to development, agriculture, and overgrazing.
But, there is some good news! The Native Prairies Association of Texas (Blackland Chapter) is a leading voice to identify, preserve, and promote prairies in Texas. Formed in July 2014, the Blackland Chapter members were spurred by the discovery of original Blackland Prairie parcels at White Rock Lake in Dallas. The chapter has been instrumental in shining a light upon and working to preserve the living history of the Blackland Prairies for generations to come. We thank these fine Texans for their dedication and appreciation of such an important cause!
Follow this link for more information about the Blackland Chapter of the Native Prairies Association: https://blacklandnpat.wordpress.com/about/
Foodie Friends, come join us on June 10 and 11 in Dallas as we participate in the Taste for Dallas event!
The Taste of Dallas is the largest summertime food and beverage event in Dallas and focuses on foodies. This is the 31st year for this event, which features over 250 participants and exhibitors, including:
The Taste Marketplace showcases a unique mix of foods, cooking demonstrations, and food samplings from specialty vendors. Wander the aisles packed with a variety of sinfully delicious and unique culinary creations and commodities. Sample and bring home tastes from one-of-a-kind exhibitors offering handmade spices, sauces, dips, olive oils, jams and more. Take time to peruse the exceptionally wide selection of contemporary vendors, artists and craftsmen plying their trade and selling their wares.
We’d love to see our foodie friends in Dallas, so join us at Fair Park, 3600 Grand Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210. This event benefits the North Texas Food Bank as the Charity Partner: https://www.ntfb.org/.
See you there!
We humans are so lucky to have air conditioning in the summertime, especially here in southeast Texas, where on average high temperatures can reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit several times each year. Bees, on the other hand, have to work to keep their hives at a perfect temperature to ensure proper development of their brood; between about 91 and 97 Fahrenheit.
Honey bees are very efficient in cooling their hives. One method bees use is to position themselves along the landing board in the front of their hive and energetically fan their wings to draw air outside the hive and create air circulation within the hive. The bees will also bring extra water into their hive to keep it cool. They may bring up to a gallon of water in one day and distribute it around the hive to function as a coolant.
Bees also regulate the hive temperature by working as a team and clustering together on the outside of their hive. This phenomenon is called “bearding”. Bearding together outside the hive helps to prevent congestion inside the hive, removing extra body heat and lowering the internal hive temperature.
We beekeepers also have a role in assisting the bees in keeping their hive cool. First, when we originally installed our hives, we strategically positioned them along a mature tree line so that the afternoon sun is blocked by shade from the trees. Second, we use a screened inner cover instead of a solid wooden cover inside the top of the hives, which allows for inflow of air. On steamy days, hot air has a better chance to escape. These strategies keep the bees from having to work as hard to regulate the hive temperature.
Hive temperature regulation is very important all year long, and as we approach another hot summer, we will keep a close eye on our hives to be certain they remain healthy in the bee yard.
Nicki Praiswater is co-founder and co-owner of Lone Star Bee Company alongside her life-partner, Mark Crippen. Together, they both enjoy beekeeping, traveling and eating great foods.