ON MAKING/ HONEY ENTHUSIAST

A Honey Journey

I am not a beekeeper, nor am I a businesswoman, I am an activist that has been learning to become many different things while pursuing a single goal: Changing how honey is perceived in Mexico.

A jar full of honey captures time, space, biodiversity, care and appreciation. 
These golden shades represent nature’s pure alchemy between blooms and bees, and love from the one who keeps them. 

It’s been six years since I started a quest to create a honey library, where I have been finding infinite flavours and moreover wonderful producers whose hearts are part of the hive.

01

How it all started

It was 2014 when I first tasted supermarket "honey". It wasn't honey! It was a mixture of syrup, honey and water, with a nice label stating it was "100% pure".

I love to say my grandmother is responsible for my skill to taste honey. Every time she went to Naranjos, her hometown in the North of Veracruz, she brought honey for everyone, adding my sweet tooth, honey became my breakfast basic from a very young age.

Oftentimes I heard my grandmother complaining about how difficult it became to find good quality honey, most beekeepers were quitting because they wouldn't earn enough money to live. But she never gave up, honey is essential in our lives.
Fast forward to 2013, my interest in environmental issues made me learn about the Colony Collapse Disorder. Something was making bees disappear in the US and Europe, which we now know to be neonicotinoids. 

Curiosity made me connect these social and environmental issues with the joy of tasting honey, little I knew back then that this would become and endless source of inspiration.

Mobirise

A de abeja

In 2014 I founded a specialty honey project offering a wide variety of textures, aromas and flavours, sourced directly from sustainable beekeepers across Mexico.
Each jar tells it's own story: where the honey comes from, who is the beekeeper, and which flowers allow gorgeous flavours and textures to gracefully explode in your mouth.

Mobirise

#SaveTheBeesMx

Along with two wonderful humans, Rox and Bruno, we founded this organization which goal is to prototype and implement different solutions around the social and environmental problems beekeepers face while taking care of their bees. We aim to engage communities as an active part for preserving bees and pollinators.

Making is creating, is using your body and your senses, to prototype your ideas and transform them into action. Making is based on collaboration, skill sharing, exchange and networking. Making from a grassroot perspective, is a tool to empower communities.

02

I became a honey taster!

Yes, that exists.

When A de abeja was born I started looking into different ways to talk about honey and the complexity it carries; brainstorming with some friends came the idea of making honey tastings as a tool to promote local consumption, enhancing the positive environmental and social impact.

My approach was very open and improvised, since I have never attended to one before nor had any training as a honey sensory analyst. Those tastings started gaining some popularity amongst my friends and their friends, so the bubble slowly started to grow.

At this point I realized that my knowledge regarding honey and taste relied purely on my empirical experience; I started to dig into blogs and books that led me to two wonderful Honey Sensory Analysis trainings in Bologna, with Raffaele Dall’Olio, Gian Luigi Marcazzan, Lucia Piana, & Andrea Tibaldi. 

I have been lucky enough to use this knowledge to run honey tastings for A de abeja; moreover I have been able to facilitate workshops for beekeepers, giving them tools to get to know their honeys differently and appreciate them from a sensorial perspective.

Mobirise Mobirise

03

Bloom and transform

We are made of encounters, in this article I share a very special one: the day I met Massimo Carpintieri.

Massimo’s story inspired me to keep moving forward, to imagine new realities and change in a positive way, to create spaces where knowledge can be exchanged in my community.

My perception of the Italian honey movement expanded, realising how fast it has evolved was a powerful reminder: there is always room for change. 

#BeeTheChangeYouWannaSee

Honey, bees and biodiversity have become my endless source of inspiration.



© Arlette Gómez Ortiz 2021 
Artwork: Bruno Valasse 2020. Home photos: UNISG Communications Office / Eduardo Wanholtz
All photographs @arlettego, unless otherwise stated