Honey, the oh so sweet, sticky honey! The perfect touch for a sweet tea or drizzled whole wheat waffles for the morning breakfast. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing but, it's also heavily packed with important, healthy nutrients. It makes an excellent natural alternative to refined sugar, which is a known contributor to diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
To get the maximum benefits from honey, it's important to purchase it in its raw organic form, because regular honey has been filtered and processed, losing some of its nutritional properties along the way.
Bees are one of these miracles of God. In fact, there is a whole surah in the Qur’an called An-Nahl which translates as "The Bee". The bees have been around producing honey for about 15 to 20 million years.
“And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].” There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed, in that is a sign for a people who give thought.”
[Qur’an: Chapter 16, Verses 68-69].
In this Q&A, we are talking to Mojtaba Aghasadeghi, a professional beekeeper situated in the beautiful Tehran, Iran. He has in own store as well as supplying to well-known stores in Tehran.
His beehives are based in Naraaq, a beautiful little town in the Merakazi Province of Central Iran, where the beekeeper himself was born and brought up.
Read on to find out the benefits and observations generously shared by Mojtaba Aghasadeghi from his years of handling bees and he production of raw, organic honey.
1) What was your inspiration to become a beekeeper and how did you pursue it?
It all started long ago when I was just 19 years old.
A few years before that, when I had gone to collect some honey from the beehives with one of my father's friends. I was stung by bees 25 times, those stings made me more curious about the bees and their life.
That incidence was a turning point in my life. I was graduating in accountancy, but the bees were always on my mind.
One day, my father got 5 artificial beehives and bees and set them in our courtyard. This thing simply fuelled my burning desire of gaining more knowledge about the bees. Whenever I used to be free from my academic work and study, I used to be always around our bees. I observed how they function and behave: collecting pollen and nectar, the Queen bee and her chamber.
I watched and looked in to different parts of the beehive. I keenly began observing all this, their sweet buzz started comforting me. And how they dance on flowers and in and around hives was all extremely interesting to me.
With this interest and great love for bees, I started gathering necessary knowledge for beekeeping, the natural way!
2) How long you have been working with bees and producing honey, and what is the most remarkable thing about it?
As already stated, since the young age of 19, I have been working with bees and producing honey.
Every year, we increased the numbers of our hives and our honey production also started increasing. By the grace of God and our collective efforts, our honey production has increased from 25kg per year to 4 tonnes per year!
Each year, we are able to produce more honey. The honey is extremely delicious, and its colour is very beautiful each year. Every year, we also introduce new queens that have great productivity potential. We also change placement of our beehives by placing them wherever there are more plants and more wildflowers.
This year, we plan to place our beehives near the highest mountain peak named Willigia near my hometown Naraaq. The place has an abundant amount wild flowering plants which contain medicinal properties. Honey produced from such wild flowers has lots of health benefits.
3) What do you think about honey, is it best medicine and why?
Honey is the best medicine, as stated by the ancient Iranian physician, Abu Ali Sina. Honey is a rich source of various vitamins. Due to the variety of flower nectars, different honeys have different medicinal properties. This is what makes honey an all-time favourite medicine as well as a health elixir.
4) What makes ‘Golden Honey’ different from every other honey?
We, at golden honey, are extremely quality conscious. Our honeys are 100% natural, pure and raw without any additives. It is 100 % organic as it’s made with wild flower nectar from the mountains. We set up our hives high up in the mountains within the most natural environment all around, and where there is a large population of naturally growing wildflower plants.
There are about 1,800 such species of plants that are native to Iran. These plants have great medicinal properties and flavour which gives our honey a very distinct flavour and a rich golden colour that turns reddish when stored over the years.
5) Can you describe the process of your job; how do you look after them and where you keep the bees?
The hives are set up in the mountain ranges that have height above 3300 metres. The town of Naraaq experiences heavy snow fall during Winter seasons, therefore, during that time, we shift our hives to relatively warmer and safer places nearby, so our bees can be safeguarded. Iran is a beautiful country with various climatic zones and experiences 4 seasons. People around the world have misconception that Iran is a desert country. We want the world to taste our honey and experience its uniqueness in flavour and concentration. Soon we shall start our export to Germany!
6) What is the biggest misconception people have about honey?
People generally have very limited knowledge about honey. But once they are educated about what it is and the benefits it consists of, then they will never leave it.
In Iran, people do not have creamed honey. They consider it as fake and do not accept it. We are trying hard to make people aware about this fact because, it really is actually 100 % real honey.
7) Would you say honey is a mental remedy as well as a physical one?
Honey is definitely a great medicine for various physical issues. It is a general tonic for all. It also boosts memory. It is loaded with various natural minerals, antioxidants and calcium that boosts brain’s health condition.
8) How would you advise people who regularly struggle to consume honey, to go about having it?
The best thing is to have honey with black seeds (Nigella Savita) in the morning, you’ll end up visiting the doctors rarely.
9) What different types of honey do you make?
We have our range of spiced honeys:
- Honey with fruits
- Honey with seeds and nuts and dried fruits like sesame seeds, almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, dried figs, apricots etc.
We have flower pollen and each of these have different varieties, for example, a mixture of cinnamon powder with honey can be a good remedy for couples not being able to conceive. Honey with nuts seeds and dried fruits is good for athletes, pregnant women and for all. Also, lemon with honey is good for colds as well as for weight loss.
We want to spread the taste of our golden honey all over the world so that the world can experience the sweetness of Iran from their homes. Thank you!
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