It may surprise readers that L’Honey Beekeeper Rick Samym of Tacoma and Sno-Isle Food Co-op Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Erin Treat of Everett share a common cause. Don’t let Mr. Samyn’s beekeeper veil distract you. Though Rick is caretaker of winged creatures, both he and Ms. Treat are influencing people to eat seasonally, organically and locally.
Both Rick Samyn and Erin Treat share a farming background. She studied environmental conservation, food and farming as a college student. He was in farming before he became a beekeeper. Therefore Rick pays attention to what’s in bloom as habitat for the honeybee. Which flowers will be good nectar producers for his bees? Changes in nature, temperature and rainfall matter. Dry seasons mean hungry bees. Rick models simple ways people can co-exist with bees and help themselves in food sourcing. Thoughtstarter? Wait until evening to mow the grass. Allow the clover to grow on your lawns. Allow the bees to harvest nectar from the clover before they return home to the hive. Wait until sunset to mow: people and bees win.
Likewise Sno-Ilse Food Co-op Erin Treat advocates easy ways people can relax and really enjoy eating. She says, Eating decisions are not a morality. Imagine that eating has no good, bad, right or wrong. Joy comes from eating good food and sharing with friends and family.”
Erin grew from not knowing how to cook and relying on pre-packaged, frozen Lean Cuisine meals to experimenting and engaging with local grains. She invites those who attend the many cooking classes at Sno-Ilse Food Co-op to consider eating what they want, when they want. Need an example?
What’s a typical workweek menu for Erin? Eating what she wants, when she wants means that breakfast might be sushi or bacon and eggs. Lunch might be a salad or sandwich. Dinner can be fast ramen with a bunch of vegetables thrown in. Alternatively, dinner could also be pork tenderloin, roasted brussel sprouts and local honeyboat squash. This squash is distinctive to the Everett area and one of her favorites.
She calls this “complete freedom” with food. Sound good? Wonder how you might make feeding friends and family affordable? “Food is something that nourishes you and brings love” says Erin Treat. The Food Co-op has a variety of teachers for classes that teach kale cookery to eating better on a budget. Add that to your smoothie-making! The Kickstarter cookbook, Good and Cheap, downloadable for free makes eating on $4/day feasible.
This doesn’t just empower SNAP benefits recipients but everyone can prosper by learning how source, select and store bulk grain/spices/produce. The wealth of nutrition comes from “utilizing those pieces in a finished meal you enjoy,” says Erin.
Before you think harvesting from the year-round kale forest that is Everett is the only way to achieve wellness in Washington, consider how taking beekeeping classes taught by Rick might lower your blood pressure. Rick Samyn says that there is zen to beekeeping. Though the bees might not be able to distinguish him from another human as a dog might differentiate his pet owner, bees can read body language. If the human approaches with deliberate, gentle movements the bees remain calm. If rash, rough movements are made to rip open the beehive, then the creatures become upset.
Sweeten your demeanor and you might harvest sweeter kale. Sweetness, by being in the moment and patient can reward you with the less bitter kale that grows in winter. Fun fact provided by Erin Treat: the freeze creates sweeter kale though kale is available year-round.
There, of course, are costs to a lifestyle change. Perhaps spirulina in your fresh pressed, organic juice might take some getting used to. Likewise having a new beekeeper’s immune system adjust to a few low-dose stings is up to the tolerance of the individual.
Curious about beekeepers and “venom therapy”? Get your answers when we upload on-camera videos of both Erin Treat and Rick Samyn’s interviews. Who is our guest reporter? SmartyFella Patrick Rodriquez, a photographer from our #filminwa adventures!