Category Archives: green

We’re Minding our Bees for Youse

beeterfly

 It may become a little more difficult to say, “pass the honey, Honey” in the future, as the fates of honeybee colonies continue to look grim. It is estimated that last year in 2013 in Iowa, 70% of the commercial honeybee industry collapsed due to harsh weather.

Honey production, although important, is not the only important task that honeybees provide. Pollination is the real value of honey bees. We all like to eat a diversity of foods in our diets. One-third of our global food supply depends on pollinators and much of our world’s biodiversity relies on the services they provide.

Plant, Grow, Fly

That’s why we applaud the work of the The Plant.Grow.Fly initiative. This worthwhile project is providing a gardening how-to guide for Iowans to support natural pollinators such as honeybees or butterflies.

Using region-specific garden recipes, you can plant the flowers and grasses that benefit local species the most.

The Plant.Grow.Fly project also is backed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Science Center of Iowa, Drake University, Polk County Conservation, Warren County Conservation, Madison County Conservation, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Des Moines Area Community College’s West Campus as well as a national program, Monarch Joint Venture.

Stam’s does their little part

“It is believed that no effort is too small and that each of us can do our part to preserve the biodiversity around us — just by planning gardens in our yards.” says Jesse Lowry, Blank Park Zoo’s conservation coordinator.

So, this May 2014, Chocolaterie Stam with the help of David Hance, will plant on the corporate campus in Des Moines, a small pilot plot of butterfly and bee friendly natives. Additionally, Chocolaterie Stam has established with the help of apiarist friends, a hive of honeybees for eventual use as a natural ingredient in one our future bonbons. We will continue to check-in with our progress over this first summer and keep you posted on the “buzz”.

We’re Nuts About Earth Day!

EarthNut

Earth Day is April 22, 2014

It’s no secret that Chocolaterie Stam is a big fan of the environment. After all, our chocolate is a direct result of that rainforest wonder Theobroma Cacao, or the Cocoa tree. But, did you know that Stam’s uses the nuts of the hazelnut bush to make many of its fillings? Our praliné bonbons are a combination of a hazelnut pâté and chocolate.

So, it isn’t surprising that we applaud the work of the Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium. In conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Rutgers University and Oregon State, they are working to develop disease-resistant, climatically adapted hybrid hazelnuts.

We, at Stam’s are interested because 75% of the world’s commercial production of hazelnuts comes from Turkey which is over 6000 miles from the United States. Yes, the U.S produces about only about 3% of the world commercial hazelnut crop.  If that could change and be grown here our carbon footprint could be greatly reduced.

Why so little?

Two factors currently limit wider production of hazelnuts in the U.S.—the inability of hazelnut plants to survive in harsh weather and susceptibility to eastern filbert blight (EFB), a fungal disease. Overcoming these barriers would expand the growing region for hazelnuts to include most of the U.S.

Can it be fixed?

Yes, native wild American hazelnuts (Corylus americana) are resistant to EFB and can survive in cold weather, but they produce tiny, thick-shelled nuts with little commercial value. The European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) is grown commercially and produces large, high-quality nuts but is susceptible to eastern filbert blight and is not cold-hardy.

Besides the carbon footprint that importing from Turkey causes, what other benefits can be had from hybridizing this plant? Well, it is a perennial crop which requires less water than annual crops thus is drought resistant and can be grown on sloping terrain and in marginal soils.

Drought resistant, strategic land use, perennial, carbon food reduction; the hazelnut bush can help reduce carbon emissions and provide commercial yield to less optimal soil conditions. We signed up as a charter patron of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Hazelnut Project and they sent us 3 hazelnut bushes for $20.