Honey Princess graces Plagman Barn

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Can you find the queen bee? From left, Jenni Luensman, Ashlee Luensman and American Honey Princess Nicole Medina locate the queen bee. The Honey Princess was on hand to promote the beekeeping industry at this year's Plagman Barn Show Days. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Nicole Medina, the American Honey Princess, has been involved in the family's beekeeping business, Tranquil Apiaries, for the past five years. Her parents, Joel and Nolvia Medina of Tranquility, an unincorporated community in Green Township in Sussex County, N.J., are considered serious sideliners in the beekeeping business. 

Medina explained, "Our family always purchased honey from the local health food store. When the store no longer carried the honey we loved and depended on for health benefits, we decided to investigate getting involved in beekeeping ourselves." She proudly shared, "Now we supply that same health food store with our brand of honey." 

Tranquil Apiaries features a wild flower honey similar to wildflower honey products found in Iowa. "We  have a lot of the same flower sources you would find in Iowa. Our wildflower honey is similar in taste. If you are purchasing your honey for health reasons, particularly allergies, it is important to buy honey from a local source. The honey will contain the correct mix of antioxidants that are beneficial for allergy sufferers," she noted

Medina enjoys using beeswax as a moisturizer in lotions and lip balms. She especially likes to burn beeswax candles. "The beeswax candles burn cleaner, longer and brighter. Beeswax candles have a nice odor and purify the air," she said. 

Medina is a sophomore at Sussex County Community College and is studying business administration. She is also an active volunteer in the Sussex County Beekeepers Association. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, volunteering at her church, and spending time with her loved ones. 

Honey health facts

Honey is an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins. One of the antioxidants, pinocembrin, is only found in honey. Honey is fat, cholesterol and sodium free. Honey has similar levels of the same heart-healthy antioxidants as spinach. It is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water. 

According to Dr. Paul Gold, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, "People remember things much better after they've consumed glucose, a form of sugar found in honey."

Honey has many healing properties. It has the ability to attract and absorb moisture, making it an excellent salve for soothing minor burns. It speeds up the healing of open wounds and combats infection. During World War I, honey was mixed with cod liver oil and used to dress soldiers' wounds on the battlefield. 

Honey is used in many beauty products such as skin creams, lipsticks and hand lotions. Queen Anne of England, in the early 1700s, used an olive oil and honey preparation to keep her hair healthy and shiny. 

Honey is nature's energy booster. Recent studies have shown that athletes who ingested honey prior to, and after competing, recovered more quickly than those who did not. Honey supplies two phases of energy. The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body rapidly and gives an immediate energy boost. The fructose is absorbed slowly providing sustained energy.

Honeybee facts

Honeybees have remained unchanged for 20 million years and have been producing honey for at least 150 million years. Honeybees have four wings that stroke 11,400 times per minute, creating their distinctive buzz. The bee has five eyes and can travel at a rate of about 12 miles per hour. The honeybee communicates with other bees through dance, and each colony has a unique odor. A queen bee  will lay about 1,000 to 1,500 eggs per day in the summer months. 

In  winter, the fastidious bee will leave the hive only to take a short cleansing flight to maintain the cleanliness of their hive. Honeybees do not die out over the winter. They feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months and patiently wait for spring. It takes 35 pounds of honey to provide enough energy for a small colony of bees to survive each winter.

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