Xoven Agricultor http://xovenagricultor.org/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 10:43:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://xovenagricultor.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/cropped-icon-32x32.png Xoven Agricultor http://xovenagricultor.org/ 32 32 Busy beekeeper Edgars Šneiders / Article https://xovenagricultor.org/busy-beekeeper-edgars-sneiders-article/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 08:58:27 +0000 https://xovenagricultor.org/busy-beekeeper-edgars-sneiders-article/

Once upon a time there was Edgars and Krista Šneiders who led cosmopolitan lives, dividing their time between Riga and Tallinn running tourist businesses. But, yearning for a bucolic place to raise their three children, they moved in 2016 to a dilapidated old farmhouse on 3 hectares of land in Smārde, 50 km west of Riga.

Over the next few years, they established a comfortable home there and planted sea buckthorn bushes to make super healthy juice. A little later, Edgars attended courses organized by the Association of Latvian Beekeepers (winning the title of Best New Beekeeper in 2018), and he now devotes himself to harvesting honey, which is marketed under the brand “Smārdes medus »(Honey from Smārde).

Today the family manages 100 beehives, all handcrafted by Edgars. He collects delicious treats made from buckwheat, heather and the invasive Canadian goldenrod (he also experiments with honey obtained from giant hogweed, the black beast Latvian farmers). Pollen, propolis and beeswax products have also found enthusiastic customers.

Smarde honey

Photo: Philippe Birzulis

Smārde is surrounded on three sides by Kēmeri National Park, and Edgars makes the most of this pristine setting by treating every type of honey with respect. Unlike large commercial farms, he doesn’t just mix all the honey into a homogeneous mass at the end of the season.

“People often ask why we have such tasty honey,” says Edgars. “And I tell them it’s because right after the apple or lime trees have finished blooming, I go out and pick the honey. So each batch is different and delicious.

On the property, a traditional-style cabin houses a shop selling honey and sea buckthorn juice to visitors (open afternoons on weekends and other days by appointment). The family also distributes in several health food stores closer to Riga and delivers orders online to Ominva parcel distributors.

In the summer they organize corporate and children’s events, and with Smārde only a short drive from Jurmala, Edgars hopes to attract day trippers to the resort to learn about bees. It engagingly tells surprising facts about these complex creatures. Did you know they have five eyes? Or that worker bees have tiny spoons on the end of their long tongues to reach for the nectar inside the flowers? Or that the Girl Scout bees perform a dance indicating the precise angle of flight to reach the right pollen?

In winter, Edgars travels to Germany to earn money driving trucks, leaving Krista in charge of the store. During these trips, he noticed that most of the honey in Western Europe was runny and of poor quality (the only real honey being available in Russian grocery stores).

Edgars believes this is in part due to EU regulations, which for years have allowed low-grade Chinese honey mixed with a small amount of local honey to be sold as a European product. But he also believes that the more northern latitudes, including Latvia, simply have better conditions for obtaining honey. Here, the short flowering season prompts the plants to produce nectar more intensely in order to attract pollinators, making the honey tastier and more nutritious.

Smārde Honey Shop

Photo: Philippe Birzulis

According to Edgars, Latvia has greater forest cover and uses less pesticides than most other EU countries. Additionally, Latvian beehives are smaller and more extensive than industrial-scale beekeeping practiced elsewhere, such as the notorious plantations in California where trucks of bees are brought in to pollinate the almonds. This protects the Latvian bee colonies from the parasites and viruses that are decimating bee populations around the world.

Due to what Edgars considers petty and costly rules, “Smārdes medus” has not achieved organic certification. But even without a label, he insists his honey is healthier and more natural than the average store-bought product. And he thinks that Latvia should use all its advantages to market its products under the name “Nordic Honey”.

“Latvian honey is very environmentally friendly and competitive, but if we want to sell it, we have to educate customers about it,” he says.

Like bee colonies, the economic ecosystem needs to be carefully maintained. Covid-era bans on fairs, even those even held outdoors, have hurt manufacturers of family food products, and increasingly stringent tax laws aren’t helping either. Edgars says the government should be more pro-small business.

But that doesn’t spoil his passion for what he does.

“Small entrepreneurs are a tough bunch, and if you slam the door on us, we’ll find a way out the window,” says Edgars. “We never give up and we will always find a way to survive and make a living.”

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Almond milk custard recipe (healthy dairy-free and gluten-free) https://xovenagricultor.org/almond-milk-custard-recipe-healthy-dairy-free-and-gluten-free/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 00:48:34 +0000 https://xovenagricultor.org/almond-milk-custard-recipe-healthy-dairy-free-and-gluten-free/

You will often notice the words “simple” and “easy” on Go Dairy Free because that is how we roll it. I don’t think good dairy-free food has to be complicated or take too long, and this almond milk cream is proof of that. It is made up of four basic ingredients for a dessert that is not only delicious, but completely healthy. We originally shared this recipe in 2007, but we’re giving the post an update!

Almond milk cream recipe (healthy dairy-free and gluten-free) - sweetened only with honey, naturally paleo, grain-free and soy-free

Almond milk cream is a healthy paleo dessert made with honey

We initially shared this sample recipe from Sandra Ramacher’s book Healing foods: cooking for celiacs, colitis, Crohn’s disease and IBS at the time of its first publication. She has since published a second edition, so I am updating this article and the recipe. His book is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and some recipes use dairy products. But most are either dairy free, like this almond milk cream, or dairy products are optional.

Sandra doesn’t add salt to her almond milk cream, but we like to add a pinch of it. It’s up to you – I just think it helps bring the flavors together. But leaving the custard to cool in the fridge for a few hours also helps it blend. Garnish with fresh fruit to make the whole dessert pop!

Almond milk cream recipe (healthy dairy-free and gluten-free) - sweetened only with honey, naturally paleo, grain-free and soy-free

Special diet notes: custard with almond milk

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy / non-dairy, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegetarian, and paleo-friendly.

Almond Milk Cream


Recipe type: Dessert

Food: British

  • 2 cups of dairy-free almond milk
  • 5 eggs
  • ⅓ cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • cup of raisins (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 ° F. Place 6 individual ramekins in a baking dish and fill the baking dish with water halfway up the ramekins.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together almond milk, eggs, honey and vanilla. Put on medium heat and cook for 1 minute, whisking but not boiling.
  3. Remove from the heat and distribute the mixture evenly between the ramekins.
  4. Carefully transfer the baking dish to your oven (you don’t want to spill any water!)
  5. Remove from the oven and place the creams in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.


More paleo desserts without dairy products

Pumpkin soufflé

Paleo Pumpkin Souffle Recipe - Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Flour Free!  Slightly sweet and salty.

No-Bake Salted Caramel Bars

No Bake Paleo Salted Caramel Bars Recipe - Low Sugar, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free & Soy Free!  With a biscuit base, a layer of caramel and a coating of salted chocolate

Paleo Fruit Pie

Paleo Fruit Pie Recipe with Dairy Free Custard and Grain Free Cookie Crust - Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy Free

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Hail deeply affects the growth of rubber trees in Xishuangbanna https://xovenagricultor.org/hail-deeply-affects-the-growth-of-rubber-trees-in-xishuangbanna/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 16:08:28 +0000 https://xovenagricultor.org/hail-deeply-affects-the-growth-of-rubber-trees-in-xishuangbanna/

Rubber tree forest before the hail event. Credit: Lin Youxing

Water use efficiency (WUE) is one of the most important indicators of the strength of the carbon-water coupling for ecosystems and plants. Annual patterns of WUE among different types of forests have been widely reported. However, the annual carbon-water coupling pattern of rubber trees has never been explored at the plant and ecosystem level. The responses of the carbon-water coupling to cold stress and hail events remain unknown.

In a study published in Crops and industrial products, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences attempted to reveal the adaptation strategy of rubber trees to cold stress and hail from the point of view of WUE. They compared the WUEs of rubber plantations by considering different scales (plant and ecosystem) and methods (turbulent covariance and isotopic techniques).

Researchers continuously measured the sap flow density, diameter at breast height (DHH), and carbon and water flow of rubber plantations in Xishuangbanna in southwest China from 2012 to 2016.

They observed high correlations in annual WUE models of rubber plantations between plant and ecosystem scales. These models were characterized by a single peak curve after the cold stress period from March to December and by the maximum values ​​of WUE occurring between July and September.

The WUE of tropical rubber trees was greatly overestimated during the period of cold stress as leaves discolored with high levels of anthocyanins would soon fall off and may reduce photosynthetic activity.

Hail deeply affects the growth of rubber trees in Xishuangbanna

Rubber tree forest after hail. Credit: Lin Youxing

Compared to the effects of cold stress on rubber tree WUE, the hail event severely disrupted the annual WUE model by weakening the carbon-water coupling process, as well as disrupting the relationship between the rate ratio. DBH growth rate and sap flow density in the following annual life cycle of rubber trees.

The results reveal that rubber trees may have potentially adapted to the adverse climatic conditions of Xishuangbanna in the northern margin of the tropics.

“However, we noted significant vulnerability and uncertainty for rubber tree responses to frequent extreme weather events, as this could profoundly affect rubber tree growth,” said Lin Youxing of XTBG.

The ecosystem functions of rubber plantations are inferior to those of tropical forests

More information:

Youxing Lin et al, Hail rather than cold stress, has profound effects on the carbon-water coupling process of Hevea brasiliensis in Xishuangbanna, Crops and industrial products (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.indcrop.2021.114237

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Hail deeply affects rubber tree growth in Xishuangbanna (2022, January 7)
retrieved January 8, 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-01-hail-event-profoundly-affects-growth.html

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Honey Head Films of Wilmington NC Launches Fundraiser for Feature Film https://xovenagricultor.org/honey-head-films-of-wilmington-nc-launches-fundraiser-for-feature-film/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 10:30:21 +0000 https://xovenagricultor.org/honey-head-films-of-wilmington-nc-launches-fundraiser-for-feature-film/