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mountain Honey { K a R s, t u R K e y } In the mountainous region of north eastern Turkey, in an area once part of the Silk Road, apiarists tend to bees in rural villages. The apiarists are a part of Balyolu, a social enterprise that creates economic opportunities for rural women in the area.

Photo Credit: Cat Jaffee

Catherine (Cat) Jaffee, Balyolu’s founder, launched the beekeeping and honey tourism organization after accumulating experience in the region as a Fulbright scholar and National Geographic Young Explorer. Once Balyolu was in motion, the local communities were eager to commit to the project and the steep learning curve that comes with keeping bees. ”I don’t think they (the local communities) realized how much work it (making honey) takes and that it wasn’t easy money. Even I was caught off guard, and I have been working at this for five years!“ says Cat. The challenges for the team are both large and small: ”Every night we have bears attacking our village, and bees swarming when they shouldn’t. There are mistakes which are normal for beginners, but it’s hard because everyone is trying to learn“ says Cat. ”The beginning of anything is always difficult, and beekeeping is no exception.“ As for the honey, at an average altitude of 2,000 meters, Balyolu’s bees pollinate plateaus of wild mountain herbs and flowers like thyme, rosemary, and spearmint, resulting in a complex-tasting flavour. Near the village where the organization is based, bees also feast on the pollen of wild roses and chamomile as well as heartier grains such as sainfoin and wheat. ”Later in the season, we see wild mountain thistles, which are unique to this altitude and region. The biodiversity results in a light-coloured, fragrant honey that tickles the back of your throat.“ www.balyolu.com

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Countlan Issue 05  
Countlan Issue 05  

Countlan is a quarterly magazine dedicated to exploring how people all over the world entertain at home.

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