You don’t read often of Croatian honey industry, but it is quite vivid field of production in the country. However, it comes with a lot of dedication and knowledge of nature, as proven by professional bee keeper Ante Marinic. Living in Town of Otocac, that is situated in mountainous Licko-Senjska County; this notable individual takes good care of his small workers. And these might have a drop of noble blood in their charming black-and-yellow bodies. In addition to regular honey, they produce Medun, which some call royal honey.
“My mother was a bee keeper, so I am connected with these insects since childhood. My uncle brought the entire work to next level, however. He left me forty hives. I gradually bought more and at one point had no less than hundred and twenty of them,” Marinic explained. His royal bees of Otocac produce a variety of honey blends. For those unaware, different variants depend on what kind of locality the insects have harvested before producing the sweet nectar. For example, bees that consumed pollen from plants on the plain will make different kind of honey in comparison to those who did so in the forest.
Marinic’s royal bees also produce flower powder, propolis nectar and a mixture of honey blends.
“You need to take good care of bees. They are the most valuable asset in the production line. And although they sting me often, I’m still their big fan.” Ante is known for using only natural means when dealing with his small royalties, using no artificial compounds whatsoever.
The aforementioned medun is the prime type of honey product, having about fifteen percent more minerals than the basic variety. Surprisingly, another animal species is involved in its production: a kind of forest aphid that reaches tree juices otherwise inaccessible to bees. They leave a large portion of this juice on more available surfaces, where bees collect it and make medun.
On average, a satisfied bee keeper gains 20 kilograms of honey per hive. However, the same amount must be reserved for bees during winter months, as they consume it as well. Once spring arrives, the whole cycle of harvesting begins anew, as Ante’s little friends explore the fields and forests of Velebit.
If visiting Otocac, don’t hesitate to try some of this delicious product. Bringing some to your family and friends as a souvenir is also an idea worth considering.
Photo: Nema Markicevic / Hanza Media