Sunday, August 14, 2011


My buddy, Mark, has a friend who has a father in Aberdeen that makes honey. His bees pollinate the flowers of Cascara trees, which is an incredibly important tree for the native peoples of this land. Way back in the day, before semis and international shipping, people here in Cascadia lived largely off of berries, nuts, roots, and wild game. Just before winter they built a long house, stocked it with food, and everyone "hibernated" in the long house for the winter eating only what they could preserve from the summer. Then in late spring, the salmon start running. Salmon are packed with calories and nutrients and it's tradition for all omnivorous/carnivorous creatures of this region to gorge themselves on salmon when the opportunity presents itself. Now, as you can imagine, eating nothing but ridiculous amounts of salmon after fasting on berries and nuts all winter can get a little digestively complicated. This is where Cascara comes in - the bark of Cascara is a laxative. According to Mark's friend, it's in quite high demand year-round, and growing up in Aberdeen kids used to make money by harvesting and selling Cascara bark. They would also play pranks on each other by saying the bark was natures candy... you know the jokes on you when you end up running for bathroom.

Anyway, the important part is that the medicinal compounds are only found in the bark. Which means honey made from bees that gather Cascara flower nectar is totally safe, and Mark and I made mead out it. We split a gallon of honey - diluted it was water, brought it to a boil, then cooled it with cold water, moved it to carboys and added Champagne yeast. Mark also added cardamom and white pepper to his carboy. Here are our babies, and in 9 months we will drink them!

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