“…first, pet a bee…”

     I am preparing for the ’07 Lavender Fields festival this weekend and I am looking forward to starting my "cooking with lavender" demonstrations saying "first, pet a bee…" Doing this reminds me of the way all gypsy recipes start (or so i’m told) "First, steal a chicken…" 
    Where else can a gal wander into an organic lavender field, a field in full bloom, swaying gently to a warm breeze, and delight onlookers by petting a bee or two before harvesting the blossoms to use in a dish they will soon get to taste? Who wouldn’t look forward to this?
    I am not a bee charmer. For those who haven’t heard of bee charmers, the legend goes that they are people of old who could gather honey from hives without benefit of protection and not get stung. If it weren’t for the lavender, which, according to the Lavender Fields beekeeper, "…is to bees like chocolate is to women", I would not be able to pet them as easily. Ellen, the genius behind the fields, says the bees are punch drunk on lavender. My petting them publicly is proof.       

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