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The Bee-Keepers

The fruitful hives of ancient Mount Mycale

In the sweetly scented forests of Turkey’s Aegean coast, bee-keepers and their families harvest the royal jelly once sought after by sultans. Rosemary Baldwin, herself a royal jelly enthusiast, revists the fruitful hives of Samsun Dağı

  • Women of the bee-keeping families of Samsun Dağ extract royal jelly from the comb, while their husbands tend the hives (Fritz von der Schulenburg)

It was while sailing through the straits of Samos for the first time in 1958 or thereabouts that I fell passionately in love with the incredibly beautiful peninsula dominated by Samsun Dağ, ancient Mount Mycale. Little did I know that five years later I would be spending a lot of time camping in the forests on its northern slopes, and that it would become part of the wonderful view from my garden in Kuşadası overlooking the Mandalyan gulf, the island of Samos and the ancient sites of Colophon and Lebedos…

When I returned to live in the area, the governor of Kuşadası permitted us to camp in the forest, and the wives of woodcutters would visit us. My husband would go off with their husbands in search of food while the women spent hours trying on necklaces and earrings I had brought for them, gazing at themselves in a hand mirror. But the visits I enjoyed most of all were from the bee-keepers.

I had kept bees on our property in the Maremma on the Tuscan coast of Italy, and we had been the first people in Italy, along with some friars in the Val d’Aosta in the Alps above Turin, to produce royal jelly commercially. The Turkish bee-keepers knew all about the wonderful powers of royal jelly…

To read the full article, purchase Issue 2

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Issue 2, 1992 The Essential Rose
£60.00 / $76.41 / €71.08
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 2
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Buy the issue
Issue 2, 1992 The Essential Rose
£60.00 / $76.41 / 2,487.81 TL
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