SEP
05

Saving Honeybees, recognizing one local beekeeper

In honor of the recent National Honeybee Day (Saturday, August 18), let’s take a closer look into one natural product that’s about as “bee-friendly” as it gets; meet one local beekeeper who has redefined the standard practice of producing honey, instead managing beekeeping on his own property and seeing that all profits go toward an organization that he and his wife care deeply about.

Sunset’s Lake Forest store sells 9oz jars of Natural Honey by Allen, now featured by the checkout counters. By all accounts, this is the only local honey that does not have any chemicals to preserve freshness or enhance flavor. A man of many talents, hobbies and trades, company founder Allen Kracower initially developed an interest in harvesting honeybees after his wife beat breast cancer. It was Caryn Kracower, a survivor herself who received successful treatment from the aforesaid hospital, who helped start a fund for patients recovering from breast cancer and needed everyday items needed while in recovery mode; all of the proceeds go toward Lake Forest Hospital in Caryn’s name.

Honey has healing qualities to it, according to homeopathic medicinal practitioners and non-licensed believers. For some time, Kracower recalls doctors with different specialties requesting honey to be used on their patients suffering from diseases like cancer and emphysema. The minimal filtration of Honey by Allen helps it retain more natural pollen grains, and consuming pollen from honey may reduce unpleasant seasonal allergy symptoms and could even help treat asthma. Although technically off the record, the results from those honey-based treatments proved astonishingly beneficial. It’s only through friendly beekeeping techniques that the bees can survive as they would in the wild.

“Bees are dying from mites that kill them,” says Kracower about the unfortunate trend. “We are treatment-free beekeepers, helping them survive naturally – even replacing the Queen; we do lose a lot of bees.”

In an effort to keep as many bees alive as possible, Kracower manages 15 hives with 40-50k bees in each one, all located on his private property in Mettawa, Illinois. Buying Lake Forest’s Honey by Allen will help bees thrive, as Kracower devotes himself to protecting local bee populations, and takes great care to produce his honey in a way that will keep his Lake Forest bees safe, happy and healthy for years to come.

Lake Forest Honey by Allen is minimally processed, which increases its nutritional value and overall quality. The honey is heated gently and filtered minimally. Consequently, Lake Forest Honey by Allen retains more healthful nutrients, antioxidants and minerals than more heavily processed honey. The nutrients and beneficial compounds in Lake Forest Honey by Allen makes the honey a smarter alternative to more refined sugars.

Come bring your family and friends to meet the bees and their beekeeper, Allen Kracower on Saturday, September 8 at 10 a.m. for a fun demonstration at our Lake Forest store.

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AUG
27

Hear the buzz? That's Lake Forest Honey by Allen at Sunset Foods

LAKE FOREST HONEY BLOG ART

 

What: Local, All-Natural, and Chemical-Free Lake Forest Honey by Allen
Where: Sunset Foods’ Lake Forest store

Sunset Foods is proud to announce that it now sells Lake Forest Honey by Allen, and that a demonstration by founder Allen Kracower will happen at Sunset Food’s Lake Forest store on Saturday, September 8.

This all-natural and high-quality honey is chemical-free, minimally processed, and made with care right here in Illinois by local nature-lover Allen Kracower. Not only is purchasing a jar of this fantastic, locally-produced honey a great way for anyone to add a little wholesome sweetness to their day, it’s also an easy way contribute to the fight against breast cancer; all of the proceeds from honey sales are given to the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital.

Buying Lake Forest Honey by Allen is also a great way to help bees. Allen Kracower is devoted to protecting local bee populations, and he takes great care to produce his honey in a way that will keep his Lake Forest bees safe, happy, and healthy for years to come. Lake Forest Honey by Allen is minimally processed and is chemical-free; though it takes more effort to make honey this way, the difference in the health of the bees and in the quality of the final product is clear. Allen always places his hives away from chemically treated vegetation, and he does not use smoke on his bees when they are producing honey. Allen also does not treat his bees with chemicals or medications. Such practices improve the health of the bees and help keep unwanted flavors from getting into the honey.

Lake Forest Honey by Allen is minimally processed, which increases its nutritional value and overall quality. Allen doesn’t pasteurize his honey; instead he heats it gently and filters it minimally. Consequently, Lake Forest Honey by Allen retains more healthful nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals than more heavily processed honey. The minimal filtration of Lake Forest Honey by Allen also helps it retain more natural pollen grains, and consuming pollen from honey may reduce unpleasant seasonal allergy symptoms and could even help treat asthma. The nutrients and beneficial compounds in Lake Forest Honey by Allen make it a smarter alternative to more refined sugars.

When it comes to honey, local can’t be beat. With this in mind, Sunset invites all its customers to pick up a hand-packed jar of Lake Forest Honey by Allen and to taste the best that Lake Forest has to offer.

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JUL
23

Unveiling the 'bee's knees' of seasonal produce

BUY LOCAL FARM SIGNS 8.5x11 Didier copy

Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

That’s what Sunset Foods does, looking elegant while besting its competition from one department to another. Now, in this produce season where foods’ edibility coincides with bees’ livelihood, Sunset takes a look into which of our seasonal foods need bees similar to how plants need water.

According to a report conducted by the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO), crop pollination relies heavily on contribution from none other than bees. As a result of that pollination, certain produce improve in quality than if the bees had avoided these foods all together.

Studies have shown that roughly 85 percent of crops grown specifically for humans require bees’ pollination, as that increases quality and yield. And since Sunset Foods’ inception in 1937, the premium grocery store has provided patrons with the best local and bee-friendly produce available, allowing them to lead betters lives in and outside of the kitchen. Throughout July and August, Sunset will offer produce from Didier Farms (older than us by a quarter-century) out in nearby Lake County, as well as produce from esteemed farms in Michigan and Indiana.

Sweet and tangy, Michigan blueberries from Red Barn Farm in South Haven, MI make for great additions to yogurt and salads, or taste just fine on their own. The United States produces more blueberries than any other country, according to FAO. “Bumblebees visit more flowers per minute than other pollinators, and have no difficulty extracting nectar from blueberry flowers with their long tongues,” reads the FAO study.

Sourced locally from Didier Farms as well as from Indiana and Michigan farmlands, cucumbers will start hitting Sunset’s produce aisle this August. Crunchy and cool, there’s a reason these refreshing veggies make you feel as cool as…well, a cucumber! What might come as a surprise, though, is that bees make it possible for cucumbers to exist in the first place.

Other Sunset fruits and veggies that exist thanks in-part to bees include Athena homegrown cantaloupe (Indiana), watermelon (Indiana), peaches (Illinois and Michigan), kale, green, red & savoy cabbage (Indiana and Didier Farms), vine ripe tomatoes and plum tomatoes (Michigan and Chicago), squash, eggplant (Indiana, Michigan and Didier), beets (Indiana and Didier), basil, herbs and veggies (Illinois), kale, mustard, turnip & collard (Michigan), green & yellow zucchini (Indiana, Michigan and Didier).

More seasonal produce available at Sunset Foods in July and August will include green beans (from Ohio, Michigan and Illinois), celery (Michigan), romaine lettuce, green and red leaf (Michigan), pickles (Indiana, Michigan and Didier), celery (Michigan), green peppers (Indiana, Michigan and Didier), romaine: green leaf & red leaf (Michigan).

In all, it’s safe to say that without bees, there would be fewer and fewer delicious produce to grow in the farmlands, land in Sunset stores and eventually, family kitchens. Stay tuned for another blog post on Natural Honey by Allen (run by Lake Forest’s Allen Kracower), which prides itself on being the only local honey that contains zero chemicals. The honey operation has many other unique qualities, including the fact that all of its proceeds go toward recovering cancer patients from the Lake Forest Hospital (more on that later).

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