Monday, June 19, 2023

Celebrate Pollinator Week with Pie!

This week is Pollinator Week! If you like food - especially pie - you've got pollinators to thank for making them possible. Same for watermelon, pickles, and chocolate.  The birds, bats, and bugs that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food.

So, Three Cheers for Pollinators! And let's celebrate by making pie! It doesn’t matter what sort of pie you want – strawberry-rhubarb, peach, apple, blueberry, pumpkin – if you want pie, you need bees. So when I was writing The Pie that Molly Grew, I knew I wanted to include the important work of bees in the book.

Apples,  peaches, strawberries, blueberries – they all depend on bees to pollinate the blossoms which then ripen into yummy fruits. Pumpkins too. And yes, pumpkin is a fruit even though it when it’s baked and smooshed and slathered with butter it looks like a sweet potato. And while peach and apple and strawberry flowers have everything they need in one blossom to produce a fruit, pumpkins don’t.

When pumpkin plants flower, they produce male flowers and female flowers. The male flowers make the pollen and the female flowers, once pollinated, make the fruit. There’s a problem, though: pumpkin pollen is too heavy to be carried by the wind. So pumpkins depend on bees to move the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers.

Fortunately there are plenty of native bees that will do that job: bumble bees, carpenter bees, squash bees, cuckoo bees, longhorned bees, and sweat bees. And you’ll even find honey bees hanging around pumpkin flowers, too!  

I'm celebrating pollinators all week, so drop by and check out pollinator patches, bee guides, and more!

The Pie That Molly Grew should hit bookstores around August 15, but you can pre-order a copy at Riverow Bookshop in historic downtown Owego, NY.

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