The event will be held through Saturday in St. Helena, Winters and Davis. It is themed "Flavor, Quality and American Menus." Both Williams and Harris will speak Thursday morning on the CIA campus at the session on "The Role of Bees in American Agriculture: From Hive Health and Honey to Sustainable Pollination."
In his talk, Williams will cover the role of bees and pollination services in sustainable
food supply, new findings about how pollination can affect fruit quality, the synergies of pollination by wild bee/honey-bee threats to bees "and what we are doing to mitigate these."
Williams' research on pollination spans the disciplines of conservation biology, behavioral ecology and evolution. One of his primary research foci is on sustainable pollination strategies for agriculture. This work is critical given ongoing pressures facing managed honey bees and reported declines in important native pollinators such as bumble bees.
Harris has been active in the varietal honey business for more than 30 years as co-owner of Z Specialty Foods, LLC. She will discuss the establishment of the newly formed Honey and Pollination Center and will present a slide show on the goals and programs of the Center and information about honey use and consumption in the United States. The center is affiliated with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Also part of the presentation will be Marie Simmons, author of "Taste of Honey: the Definitive Guide to Tasting and Cooking with 40 Varietals." Her topic is "The Flavor and Culinary Applications of Honey."
The four-day workshop, geared for chefs and future chefs, by invitation only, got under way today, Wednesday, at the CIA building. Opening remarks will be delivered by Michael McCarthy, chairman of the UC Davis Food Science and Technology Department, and Clare Hasler-Lewis of the Robert Mondavi Institute.
Among the featured speakers are Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of food and Agriculture, and Craig McNamara, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and owner of Sierra Orchards. Both will address the conference on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, the group will head to Winters and UC Davis. In Winters, they will tour the Wolfskill Experimental Orchards, the Farm on Putah Creek, and the Center for Land-Based Learning, all on Putah Creek Road.
Friday's session at UC Davis includes a tour of the RMI brewing, milk, and food processing, and winery facilities; and a sensory experience in the RMI'a Silverado Sensory Theater
Saturday's session takes place in St. Helena on the CIA campus.