Trinis and the 750ml Honey Bottle

It is one of the things that seems to be unique to us. Purchasing large bottle of honey for the home. But why? Why do we need such a large bottle at once? We did some research and came up with a few sweet theories.

honey trinidad
  1. Availability of bottles. Many of the seasoned beekeepers will tell you there was a time when buying new bottles wasn’t an option. 40 years ago most beekeepers would collect the rum bottles from bars, sanitize them and reuse. Today, we have better packaging options and can buy new bottles when needed.
  2. Tradition. We have gotten used to it. If we were to look at our ‘honey culture’ it is our preferred size (even if it takes us a year to finish).
  3. Scarcity. Our primary production season is from January to June which means for the second half of the year honey can be more difficult to find. However, production can also vary within the dry season (like the non-existent dry season of 2018)
honey

Whatever your preference pure honey doesn’t spoil so you can hold on to it for as long as you need to.


Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day

baptist up hill

Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day is an annual public holiday celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago on 30 March. The Baptists came to Trinidad in 1815 with the Merikins, the liberated African slaves who fought for the British in America and were rewarded by being settled as free men in the Company villages in Trinidad.

The name “Shouter” derives from the practice of their religion. They are very vocal in singing, praying and preaching. “Shouter” is seen as a derogatory term and the term “Spiritual” is preferred due to the practice of their religion to “invoke the holy spirit” during their worship.

baptist with bell

Spirit possession by the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues are regarded as spiritual gifts. The moaning sound, called ‘doption’ is utilized during praying and singing. Significant sacred objects used in worship include the hand bell, candles and flowers. Food items such as rice and honey are often also featured on alters.

 

honey and orange
Honey

The holiday commemorates the repeal on 30 March 1951 of the 1917 Shouter Prohibition Ordinance that prohibited the activities of the Shouter or Spiritual Baptist faith.

Trinidad and Tobago is the only country in the world that celebrates a public holiday for the Spiritual Baptist faith. And, although they are not represented in the population censuses, the Spiritual Baptists are estimated to number between 100 to 300 thousand.

Looking to the hills

Honey is a seasonal product. While consumers enjoy honey year round beekeepers within Trinidad and Tobago typically experience their main flow between January and June a.k.a. the dry season. Yet, up until the beginning of March, this year, it was still raining. Two months down and four more to go.

 rain

 

For the season so far, many beekeepers are scratching their heads in confusion, describing this as something they have never seen before. “How can we have so much rain well into the dry season?” Well … this is climate change. And it is very real.

 

The flowering of the pink poui is usually a signal to beekeepers that the season is coming. We look to the hills in anticipation of the bright yellow clusters of the yellow poui to follow. The nectar produced by these trees provides nourishment for vital animals of the Caribbean ecosystem, such as bees and hummingbirds.  The yellow poui can flower any time during the dry season as long as they lose their leaves. After three days, the flowers drop off and the trees start growing leaves. When the rain comes back consistently, between July and December, new leaves will grow again.

yellow poui 3
The yellow poui in bloom

 

For those that are in T&T, when you go about your day if you spot the bold yellow of a poui tree you can be sure there is a beekeeper smiling somewhere. For us, that’s our sure sign to say, “Yes, welcome to the honey flow.”

The 2018 Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Since starting the business that is Tropical Hives I will say that I have grown with it. As a first generation agricultural practitioner the journey has been one of highs and lows. I have an even greater respect for farmers. Their efforts help provide food for our families.

This year, one of our primary goals is to form a deeper relationship with our farmers. Together we can accomplish amazing thing.

muddy boots
1st apiary visit for 2018

2018 marks the start of us documenting our journey authentically and learning from mistakes along the way. Every step forward is a step in the right direction.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton