Amina Harris is the director of the Honey and Pollination Center, located at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, on the UC Davis campus. The center was founded in 2012. Harris might be considered a “sensory scientist”, and her job (we think it’s a sweet gig!) includes “curating a honey library and hosting honey tastings.” A focus of her work has been to create the Honey Flavor Wheel, “a thorough tool for understanding the wide range of flavor characteristics present in honey, while expanding vocabulary we use to describe it.”
Harris hopes that by learning more about honey, consumers will become more engaged – and discerning – about consumption. Ultimately, she hopes that this will lead to a better understanding of pollinators.
Amber Turpin is a baker, freelance food writer and former journalist. She interviewed Harris for Civil Eats.
Turpin: What have been your most difficult challenges in your work so far?
Harris: [One challenge in this industry] is non-GMO and organic labeling, which mean next to nothing.These labels need to be removed from honey. Meaningful labels and descriptors need to come into play. However non-GMO and organic now have such a strong, visceral following (often misunderstood) that it will be very difficult to make any real headway…
Today’s must-read piece. Absolutely stellar.
Harris’ work at UC Davis is part of a larger UC effort called the Global Food Initiative (GFI). The University of California is harnessing the institution’s resources to address one of the most pressing issues or our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed the world’s growing population. Read more here.
The video is via the Sacramento Bee.