This sweet idea has got some buzz.
Woodland will host its first California Honey Festival, a celebration of this ancient food and the busy bees who produce it on Saturday, May 6. The inaugural event is presented in conjunction with the Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine’s Honey and Pollination Center at UC Davis.
Other festivals focus on honey, but this one will be the first statewide salute, centered in California almond country, said Amina Harris, executive director of the Honey and Pollination Center. The focus combines all things honey, including food and education at more than 100 vendor booths. Honey and bee experts are coming from across the nation, she said.
The festival ties together an all-honey weekend. On Friday evening at 6 p.m., a “V.I.Bee” opening night party ($65) at Woodland’s Barth Building, 426 First St., will include a honey-infused tasting menu and mead samples.
On Sunday, the Honey Center presents the latest bee health research at its third annual Bee Symposium ($80) at UC Davis. Among the highlights will be presentations on new FDA rules on using antibiotics in hives, honey labeling and alternative treatments to boost bee health.
The plight of honeybees, the pollinators of many California crops, has pushed honey and bees to the forefront of public awareness, noted Harris, who has been in the honey business since 1980. In recent years, millions of beehives were wiped out by Colony Collapse Disorder, a still-mysterious malady.
“People care about bees, and people love honey,” said Harris, who expects about 6,000 patrons Saturday. “(The festival) mixes food and awareness with a little of everything.”
Plenty of children’s activities such as Planet Bee’s popular program will be part of that mix as well as more adult pursuits, such as a mead speakeasy. Patrons of all ages can sample honey and learn how to use a honey tasting wheel to describe its flavors.
In addition to the festival food vendors, Woodland’s downtown restaurants and bars will offer honey-spiked food and drinks on their menus.
California Honey Festival
Where: Main Street between Third and College streets, Woodland
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 6