The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center’s annual Feast, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, will celebrate mead and honey, as usual, and something else: a new partnership to bring a pollinator-friendly kitchen garden to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
Amina Harris, director of the RMI’s Honey and Pollination Center, said the garden will be part of the Good Life Garden that sits amid the institute’s buildings in the south campus, and is being developed in cooperation with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
“We are creating a team to look at plantings, irrigation concepts, educational signage and even the installation of a beehive,” Harris said.
The center's mission: Helping UC Davis become the world's leading authority on bee health, pollination and honey quality.
Kathleen Socolofsky, assistant vice chancellor and director of the Arboretum and Public Garden, said: “We are thrilled to be able to plan the next phase of the Good Life Garden with our partners at the Robert Mondavi Institute, including the Honey and Pollination Center and other academic partners in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”
Ideas for the garden will be presented at The Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey, described by Harris as “a tasty way” to celebrate pollinators and the wonderful fruits and vegetables they help bring to the table.
The dinner, now in its fourth year, also serves as a fundraiser for the Honey and Pollination Center’s outreach and education programs.
Harris said Ann Evans, author of The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook (second edition), has created a feast menu that is redolent with seasonal flavors: hors d’oeuvres and Honey Stingers featuring ginger mead; a rich tomato aspic salad; and a main course of chicken with plumped dried figs and apricots, and roasted Musqué de Provence squash with couscous. Wines, honey lemonade and sparkling mead will paired with each course.
A cheese interlude will accompany a dessert mead flight with a perfect closure to a winter feast: mead-poached pears served with butter cookies and the mead flight.