Linda here this first, and very hot, Friday in June.
June brings us all sorts of gifts. The sun is nearing it’s solstice this month (around June 20th), and the heat is intensifying. It is this very heat helps bring the summer rains here in the Southwest. The moon is a New Moon tomorrow – this Saturday – and will be full again around the 20th – just in time to shine light on National Pollinator week!
Most of us know that pollinators are cornerstone species for planet earth. But lets look a little deeper at a few pollinators and link them with some foods/drinks we might have overlooked as pollinator dependent. And with the references to the sun and the moon above – lets look at which pollinators are doing what, and when.
Bees shown below, for instance, are solar beings. They actually have five eyes, not just the two that we can easily see with our own two human eyes. The other three are on top of their head, and they navigate using the sun. So while they spend much of their time inside dark hives, they forage for nectar and pollen while the sun is out, and are not active outside the hive at night. Keeping this in mind can be very helpful for how a beekeeper moves and where she stands in relationship to the sun,when working with bees is important. More about this another time.
Bats on the other hand, are evening/night pollinators. Among the many many many pollination activities that bats perform are agave flowers! And from agave flowers, grow agave plants. And from the careful work of bats, to the careful work of people (who harvest these plants and bake the “hearts” in the earth to make liquors) come Agave drinks.
Agave Liquors are thanks to bats. That that tequila in your hands and that makes such an impression on your tounge is there because bats pollinated the agave flower. The Bacanora. The Mescal. All the Agave Liquors … are thanks to bats. Try an Agave Flight sometime. I did for my birthday just this week and it made quite and impression.
If you have never tried bacanora, consider doing so. It has a smoky flavor that is both surprising – and kind of grounding.The hearts of the plants are cooked in “ovens” in the earth for extended periods of time. I also like that smoke is of the “air” – as are bats and bees and flies – well all pollinators.
And while you are at it, you can thank a tiny fly as well. Why flies? They pollinate the flowers that become CHOCOLATE.
It is a strange and wonderful world: flies and bats and stinging bees offer such gifts. I am grateful for the pollinators who enrich both the earth and my culinary world as well . Please write me if/when you connect a pollinator with a favorite food.
Celebrate National Pollinator week in your own way. And consider checking out and even giving to an organization like XERCES ( http://www.xerces.org ) that is doing powerful, quality work.