Monday is World Honey Bee Day – a relatively new “holiday” being celebrated for only the second year in a row, and based on a 2017 United Nations decision – and according to the Agricultural Ministry, Israelis enjoy about 21.6 oz. (600g) of honey a year. Most of that is during the Yamim Nora’im period, when consumption averages around 8.8 oz. (250g) per person.
Based on those numbers, Israelis consume about 1.75 grams of honey per day on average – far less than many other countries, including Greece (4.24 grams), Turkey (3.33), or Ukraine (3.15).
Altogether, Israelis consume about 4,500 tons of honey a year, 3,500 of which is locally produced. Israel has 510 official bee farms, which comprise 110,000 beehives. They produce some 20 different strains of honey, distinguished by the type of pollen the bees transport, which influences the taste of the honey.
There is a great deal of pollen in the air in Israel this spring – not so great for those suffering from pollen allergies, but fantastic for the honey economy, the Ministry said, anticipating a banner year for honey production. The reason for the surfeit of pollen, of course, is because there are a lot of flowers this year, the result of this winter’s copious rainfall.
The UN saw fit to give bees their due with an international day dedicated to educating people as to their importance, because of bees’ value in the food chain. Bees manufacture honey, but they are key in spreading pollen, which helps plants to grow – and scientists estimate that without proper pollination, some 80% of crops would stop growing.