Norilsk honey: fiction or reality?
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Norilsk honey: fiction or reality?

June 23, 2020

Real Norilsk honey may seem fantastic to someone. But there were times when it was possible to taste the northernmost bee delicacy on the 69th parallel.

Even before the start of the World War II, the infrastructure on the territory of the Norilsk Combine was actively developing and an important task was the growth of agriculture. Great attention was paid to it.

It was about growing vegetables, herbs and even heat-loving fruit such as melons and watermelons. Greenhouses appeared in Norilsk, where up to three and a half tons of fruit and vegetables were harvested per season.
Moreover, hives were installed in some greenhouses, and bees pollinated plants. The side effect of this know-how was honey. Soviet scientists even developed technologies that would allow Norilsk bees to “work” in greenhouse conditions all year round, but this practice turned to be costly and did not take root.

A couple of years ago, the question of the hives’s appearance in the open spaces of Taimyr was raised again. Not in the greenhouse, but in the open air. The idea of making an apiary by the lake on the Putorana plateau was presented by the head of the Taimyr Researchers Club (TRC) Stanislav Stryuchkov.

“Before the revolution, Jonas Lid, an entrepreneur from Norway, worked in the northern Yenisei region where Igarka is situated now. He raised cattle, grew flax and got honey. If it was possible at that time why not try now, although we are located a little more to the north from Igarka? ” – reasoned Stanislav.

With the support of Andrei Kaiser, a doctor of biological sciences at the Research Institute of Agriculture and Ecology of the Arctic, who was also interested in this issue, he decided to develop the topic.

According to Stanislav, you can collect a unique “tiered” honey under favorable conditions on the plateau in summer. After all, the territory of Putorana includes various natural landscapes – from the forest tundra to the arctic desert, and the flowering period of plants in different areas occurs from late May to late August. All this gives bees a chance to gather at least a little honey over the summer. The precedent is important – the very fact of getting honey beyond the Arctic Circle

The apiary project requires funding. In theory, the TRC representatives substantiated the prospects for their ideas and are ready to submit an appropriate application to one of the grantors, for example, to the Nornickel company’s World of New Opportunities program. But to complete the task you need a contractor, a specialist who will be involved in the project and will do the job. There were such people in TRC, but for various reasons they could not participate in long-term work.

While the question remains open, and the idea that the Norilsk people can get honey in conditions that seem unsuitable for this, it still warms the souls of researchers, scientists and many people familiar with the history of agriculture in Taimyr.

Text: Yulia Gubeladze, Photo: Nikolay Schipko

June 23, 2020

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