Mention Yad Mordechai, and the battle fought at the kibbutz during the war of
1948 might come to mind. Or, a sweeter thought might arise: honey.
Rosh Hashana just around the corner, families are getting ready to dip halla and
apples in honey in hope that the new year will be just as sweet as the golden
And chances are the honey will come from one of Israel’s first
honey producers, Yad Mordechai.
Marketing manager Elad Ravid says that
demand for Yad Mordechai’s honey ahead of Rosh Hashana is up by some 35%
compared with the rest of the year.
The land flowing with milk and honey
consumes approximately 3,600 tons of the natural food per year, and the trend is
The market increased by about 7% in 2007, 15% in 2008,
and 5% in 2009.
The average consumer purchases honey about three times a
year and uses it mainly for dipping apples (74%), cooking and baking (44%), and
spreading on bread (33%).
The beehive in Yad Mordechai was established in
1936 by the founding nucleus of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, who learned the secrets
of beekeeping from Australian and British soldiers stationed in the country
during the British Mandate.
Soon, the art of honey-making became the
mainstay of the kibbutz.
As Egyptian troops advanced toward the communal
village in 1948, friction arose among the folks at the kibbutz. Worried about
the fate of the apiary, members voted to send the beekeeper to take refuge –
together with the hives – in the north, even though the beekeeper wanted to stay
The majority won, the beekeeper took off, coming back after
the hostilities were over, and what started out as a 150-beehive apiary is today
Israel’s leading honey producer, holding a 60% share of the NIS 95 million local
“Honey is something that came and stayed with us,” said
purchasing manager Yair Svartz, licking a drop of honey from the corner of his
Although the company headquarters and factory are located on the
kibbutz, situated a few kilometers south of Ashkelon, the apiary has over 6,000
beehives scattered throughout the country. Bees produce about 45 kilograms of
honey per hive annually.
“We practice what is known as migrating
beekeeping,” said Dan “Kutzi” Weil, beekeeper and professional adviser at Yad
In Israel, honey is harvested from spring until the end of
The raw material to create honey is found only in nature, in the
blossoms of flowering plants.
Depending on the season’s blossom,
beekeepers move hives to different crops around the country.
common type of honey is wildflower honey, made with nectar collected from a
variety of blossoms. Although it accounts for 90% of yearly sales in Israel,
distinctive honeys created from nectar extracted from specific blossoms are also
Pure multi-flower honey accounts for 80% of the production at
Yad Mordechai. The remaining 20% is dedicated to the creation of specialty
honeys, such as citrus, eucalyptus and avocado flower. Each one has a
distinctive flavor, color and aroma determined by the nectar
ORANGE BLOSSOM honey, with a light golden color, has a pleasant
level of sweetness accompanied by a refreshing citrus tingle on the taste buds.
The deeper golden eucalyptus flower honey has a complex smoky aroma, while the
dark-colored avocado flower honey is characterized by a robust, caramelized
Yad Mordechai also produces multi-flower honeys enriched with
natural flavors such as ginger and lemongrass. In addition, it makes a series of
pure honey with royal jelly, a honey-bee secretion used in the nutrition of
larvae and queens which contains a variety of fatty components that improve the
vitality of the body.
Tasty and sticky, honey is not only a natural
source of energy; it is also utilized for its medical properties.
said that honey has a relatively high concentration of antioxidants that operate
in the capture of free radicals; it boosts the immune system in the body,
increases endurance and reduces fatigue. As an antibacterial, it is good for the
skin and is used to disinfect wounds and treat burns and
Added to a glass of warm milk or aged cognac, it is often
used as a home remedy to relieve cold symptoms and sore throats.
headaches, the Honey Council recommends mixing two tablespoons of honey with
equal parts of cider vinegar in a glass of water.
Bees work all their
lives, without resting for a moment, to perform all the intricate, incessant
labor involved in producing honey, which is their winter reservoir of
During its life, a bee flies an average of 800 km.
calls the bee “a hi-tech insect.”
Bees use the waggle dance, a
figure-eight whirl, to communicate the odor and flavor of nectar, informing each
other about the type of food found in the field and the exact direction in
relation to the sunlight at the time From the hives, bees fly from flower to
flower to collect the nectar.
A BEE visits about 100 flowers within 10
Once back at the hive, the extract is fed to the younger workers
that process it and stock it in hexagonal storage cells, which are waxed when
Nectar is composed of 80% water and 20% sugar and other
Bees activate their wings to create an airstream
in order to evaporate the water. When the process is completed, beekeepers
collect the honey, which is then filtered from pollen and wax and finally put in
Though the Mishna states that “What comes from something that is
not kosher is not kosher, and what comes from something that is kosher is
kosher” and bees are non-kosher, honey nevertheless is kosher since the nectar
is carried in bees’ bodies and not produced inside them.
In 2007, in the
north of the country, Hebrew University archeologists uncovered a beehive dating
back 3,000 years.
“Honey is the most ancient sweetener,” Weil
Archeological excavations in the Egyptian pyramids have found jars
of honey buried together with the pharaohs, as honey was used in ancient times
during religious rituals and as an offering to the gods.
4,000-year-old honey they discovered is edible to this day.
properly – be it in your fridge, or buried in a tomb – honey does not spoil on
account of its high sugar level, about 80%.
Are you on the point of
throwing away that jar of delicious honey you got that crystallized and lost its
clarity? Don’t! Pure real honey tends to crystallize, suggesting high quality.
Just soak the jar in hot water.