What do goats and bees have in common? If you answered they create easily digested food that is loaded with vitamins and minerals, you are right! Both contain vitamin A, some B vitamin, as well as trace elements of minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese. And here in the Okanagan Valley, the Land of Milk and Honey, we are lucky to have goat and bee products readily available.
The dairy goat industry is growing by leaps and bounds in Canada. The same sort of products that are made from cows milk are also made from goats milk - homogenized, two per cent, one per cent, skim, organic and chocolate milk, all types of cream, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, eggnog, ice cream and sherbet. And more products are being introduced all the time.
But by far the biggest goat milk product is cheese and not just the soft unripened chevre people may be familiar with. There is also goat medium-aged cheddar, mozzarella, feta and brie. Consumers can also buy aged goat cheddar and goat Gouda now available in select stores across Canada.
In addition to edibles, skin products made from goat's milk can be purchased from health food stores, some grocery and drug stores, and at farmer's markets. Soaps and lotions made with pure goat's milk are good for the skin because of the higher fatty acids. In fact, the PH balance of fatty acids is similar to the PH balance found in the human body. This means it is gentle and will add moister to your skin, as well as making it easier for your skin to absorb the vitamins and minerals present.
Goat cheese artisans Ofri and Ofer Barmor were already professional goat farmers when they opened Carmeli's Goat Cheese Artisan Inc. in 2003. They brought their expertise from Isreal to Canada and saw a niche in the Kelowna's area. "Sixty-five percent of the world's population is lactose intolerant, and goat's milk is easy to digest," commented Ofri. This means that many people who may not be able to tolerate cow's milk can enjoy Carmeli's many types of cheese. There are thirteen varieties, and they range from soft ripened, to cheeses aged over two years. After creating the impressive array, gelato was added to the storefront to appeal to a broader market. "Children really enjoy it". New owners, the Burns, could not agree more. They are delighted with the legacy of Carmeli's and are dedicated to carrying on the tradition of quality. Thomas Burns mentioned, "We are interested in educating people about the benefits of consuming goat's milk products, and if you can call ahead and have eight or more people, you can book a guided tour."
Carmeli's is proud to provide top-notch consumables, and that starts with the goat's diet. They are fed all natural food, free of chemicals and additives.
*Carmeli's Goat Cheese Artisan Inc., 170 Timberline Road, Kelowna, BC V1W 4J6. Phone ahead for a tour of the facilities at: 250-764-9033. Order products on-line at: www.carmelisgoatcheese.com
Honey knows best
Ed Nowek, owner of Planet Bee in Vernon, started as a beekeeper in his teens. He is passionate about sharing bee knowledge with people, especially the importance of the survival of bees. Many of the food crops we rely on need, or benefit from, bee pollination. His passion led to the establishment of Planet Bee in 1997. Initially based in Armstrong, Ed moved his business to Vernon in 2003. Once he was settled in Vernon, the next step was to open the meadery.
“There is a lot of history around mead,” Ed says, “The word “honeymoon” comes from the practice of drinking mead for one cycle of the moon, after getting married. The bride’s family would supply enough mead for the weekend of celebration and enough for the bride and groom to drink for the next month.” So you now know where the word “honeymoon” originated!
The benefits of honey are plenty.
“Honey is good for our immune systems; it’s an easy sugar to digest. Some diabetics can safely eat honey every day,” says Ed. As a beauty product, “Honey is an excellent
moisturizer. There is royal jelly for skin and it works to reduce wrinkles and restore the
skin’s elasticity. It is also good for people with allergies and sensitive skin. Some women use it to reduce stretch marks.”
Whether you use a honey-based balm, jelly, lotion, shampoo, or conditioner, your skin and hair will feel renewed. And let us not forget honey’s medicinal value. Honey has antibacterial properties; its high viscosity provides a protective barrier to help protect against infection. Ed lives by his commitment to his life’s work, “It’s good, it’s natural, I eat it every day.”
How do you like your Honey?
Honey comes in different forms, so what is considered the "best"?
This all depends on how you prefer to apply or eat your honey.
Cream honey is mess-free and favoured by those who enjoy using honey as a spread for
Liquid honey is an all-time favourite for drizzling over pastries, pancakes, biscuits, and
Raw honey is unprocessed, unheated, is highly valued for its live enzymes.
And finally, there's Organic honey for those who believe in eating only the purest form of
this natural sweetener - 100% free of pesticides or environmental pollutants, whereby the
nectar and pollen sources consist essentially of organic crops as the origin of bees and
locations of apiaries are regulated by a strict set of guidelines.
Raw and Organic honey is mostly directly purchased from the beekeepers and local honey
farms – so how lucky are we - living in the Okanagan!
Where to find your Milk and Honey?
To sum up, it is impressive to see the array of goat and bee edibles and merchandise, and
there are a number of apiaries and goat farms up and down the Okanagan Valley. We
could not include them all, but if you go on-line and check out goat and bee products, you’ll
be amazed at how much we have in our back yard. Just another reason to take pride in
where we live!
* Planet Bee Honey Farm and Gift Shop, 5011 Bella Vista Road, Vernon, BC V1H
1A1. Educational seminars are available. Phone ahead: 250-542- 8088 or toll free at: 1-
877-233- 9675. Shop on-line at: www.planetbee.com
****Please note that the author's name, Jocelyn Winterburn, was printed incorrectly in our Summer 2016 issue