We eat it raw, cooked or berry coulised, but you had better start preparing your taste buds for new sensations. Natural fruit and veg are becoming expensive and increasingly rare commodities, because millions of bees are dying and no one knows why.
All that we know is that fewer and fewer busy bodies can be seen in the hives, and beekeepers are starting to scan the job ads on LinkedIn. The US, Canada and Europe have been hit the hardest, but the rest of the world is worrying too. In China, farm workers patrol the orchards with feather dusters to distribute pollen.
The jury is still out on the cause of these bee deaths. Are certain pesticides are to blame? Or is the culprit a tiny vicious parasite? The negative impact of genetically modified crops is also a possibility. This uncertainty poses another dilemma: What if the measures taken by different countries end up being counter-productive?
The queen bee of online foodies, Christina Taylor, wrote on her website last night: “I recently had apple pie at Bon Appetit, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Manhattan. After one bite, I called the waiter and asked for more custard and ice cream; because there was no way that I could have finished it without bringing in reinforcements.”
Before leaving the restaurant Christina told the chef that she was not impressed. His response? “I truly sympathize. You had 3D-printed apples, because that is all we have to work with!”
DARPA has announced a new X-Prize for the invention of a robotic bee, which must be solar powered and capable of autonomous flight. Monsanto has dismissed that idea as “unsustainable – it’s just too expensive. We need a biological solution.”
Bees are responsible for pollinating food crops worth US$ 200 billion worldwide.