Life With Bees: Tri B. Haven Honey
article by Meredith McKinnie | photos by Martin G Meyers
Tri B. Haven honey is a product created out of respect for the land, an appreciation of the bee community, and a love of local fare. Jada Banks’ fascination with bees began as a child. Her dad, Joe Banks, instilled in her a love of travel and a taste for honey. Some time in Germany in her early twenties truly broadened her scope. The fresh markets boasted local cheeses, meats, wines, flowers, and yes, honey. She fell in love with the unique flavors: lavender, rosemary, sage, and even seasonal tastes. After learning more about the horrific bee conditions and declining population so essential to our environment, she wanted to help in some way.
Three years ago, with the help of local beekeepers, Jada set up 3 hives in her backyard. Upon close inspection, she became even more fascinated with the peaceful, loving creatures, their defined structure and incessant work ethic. Noting “no comparison to God’s design,” the bees formed perfect hexagons, like little mathematicians, a “perfect demonstration of one of God’s miracles.” Their communication is incredible inside the hive. With no light, the bees dance, flapping their wings to lead other bees to the best pollen and nectar.
Females reign supreme in the bee community. We’ve all heard of the Queen Bee, but the entire hive consists primarily of females, the males only serving as a means of reproduction. Alongside the Queen, nurse bees, worker bees, and stand guard bees are all female. The males serve as drones and rank low in importance inside the hive. All bees have a short lifespan and are nonstop workers. One bee will only produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its short lifetime, but as a whole, the hive will thrive. These feminist insects practice a perfect system of symmetry and are essential to humanity.
While some beekeepers spray their hives with medications, Jada and the local beekeepers don’t force the bees to do huge commercial production. They allow the bees to fend for themselves, and one can taste the difference in the honey. The bees aren’t fed sugar water, instead eating their own honey, completely natural.
Tri B. Haven names its honey based on season and location of the hive. The spring honey is a blond color, lightest in flavor, texture and color with a honeysuckle taste. The summer honey is caramel-colored, a more concentrated flavor like a “warm, sunny day.” The fall honey is dark amber accompanied by a robust, richer flavor. The flowers, shrubs, trees, etc. of the different seasons make for the various colors and tastes of the honey. The all-natural treatment and respect for the bees as producers is evident.
Now with 13 hives, Jada along with hermother, Sandra Banks, and her sister-in-law, Lawanda Banks, make up the “tri” in Tri B. Haven, “no boys in the aviary,” just like the bees they so admire. The family operation extends to Jada’s two girls, Kaia and Zoe. The girls get a spoonful of honey every day as it helps with their allergies. Honey also aids in digestion and metabolism. It can be used as a sugar substitute, and the body digests honey slower so the blood glucose does not rise as quickly. Jada frequently makes protein gummies for her family, honey marshmallows, and a favorite, honey hot fudge.
The family operation has come full circle.What began as time with her dad has evolved to an appreciation for the family atmosphere the bees create in the hive. Jada’s mimicked their methods in her personal life with her family indulging a common passion while doing their part to help the bee population and the environment as a whole.
You can purchase Tri B. Haven honey in Monroe at Vieux Carre Market or contact Jada directly.
Tri B. Haven | 318-477-0337