Every year we help out at "Farm and Field Days", an excursion for 4th graders to show them where their food comes from. Our bee club brings a couple of obs hives, but we have also inherited the talk on pollinators in general. We originally used a collection of fruits and veggies, and a pair of pictures showing the difference of a produce section with and without pollinators.
Reaching kids hearts with broccoli is a spotty proposition. Midway thru last year it struck me that ice cream may be the better vehicle for reaching that age group. As I thought about it, ice cream becomes pretty boring without the contribution of pollinators.
I refined that idea this year, but my background info is still sketchy. Clearly, ice cream is possible without pollinators (sugar cane is not a fruit and can grow from cuttings). But the main flavors, vanilla and chocolate, depend on specialized pollinators. There are a few fruits and nuts that don't require pollinators. There are fruits and nuts that CAN produce without pollinators but are more productive or make better quality fruit if pollinated. And then there are those that absolutely depend on pollinators. The ones that are better with pollinators are likely not commercially as useful if not assisted by pollinators. Many commercial varieties are hybrids that require a cross with another line in order to set fruit, so even if the wild varieties are self-fertile, the commercial ones are frequently pollinator-dependent.
So without pollinators I came up with caramel, mint, banana, peanut, pistachios, cinnamon, sour cherries, grapes/raisins, and oysters.
Yeah, oysters ... a favorite of Dolley Madison, but unanimously unpopular with the 4th graders.
My apologies in advance ... there are tabulation problems with the list. I had it lined up on the draft page but the tabs went away on the final form. Maybe I can figure out how to post the spreadsheet.
Your contributions and corrections are welcome, and you're welcome to use this idea if you find it useful.
Ice Cream and Pollinators
Pollinators Not Required
Sugar Sap from cane, grown mostly from cuttings. A grass.
Caramel Overcooked sugar
Mint Leaf-derived, can grow from cuttings
Banana The one commercial banana propagates by cuttings. Bats pollinate in the wild.
Cinnamon Bark-derived, can grow from cuttings.
Oysters (Dolley Madison) Not making this up!
Peanuts, Peanut butter Self pollinate
Pistachios Female flowers do not attract bees
Grapes, Raisins Wind pollinate
Fruits Essential Better Cross/SS Not Req. Pollenated by
Cherry, sweet Most Most HB and other bees, insects.
Cherry, sour X X (Mixed reports, crosses may benefit?)
Cherry, black X Native bees
Strawberry X Maybe Produce better-formed fruit with bees.
Blueberries X X HB, native bees, noctunal moths? Black flies, mosquitos, a myth?
Apples X X HB, bumbles, solitary bees
Pears X X HB, tho' they would often rather find better
Raspberries X HB, bumbles, solitary bees
Honeydew X X Bees
Lychee X Mostly bees, wasps, beetles, flies, some wind
Peach Some Some Most Mostly wind, but bees are helpful.
Lemon, lime X Self-pollinate, but somewhat more productive with bees
Orange X Self-pollinate, but somewhat more productive with bees
Mango X Native flies, HB, ants, bats
Guava ? X HB, bats
Acai Berry A palm. Hard to find but probably wind/insects?
Pineapple Bats, hummingbirds (edible fruit better without pollination: seeds)
Grape/Raisins Most Self-pollinate, wind
Pumpkin X X Bees
Prunes/plums X Some Bees, other insects.
Fig X Specialized wasps, supported by specialized ants
Vanilla Melipona bees
Chocolate Chocolate midge
Coffee, Arabica X Mostly bees. Bats and birds for pest control.
Coffee, Robusta X X Mostly bees. Bats and birds for pest control.
Pecans/Pralines X X Multiple pollinators work best
Almonds X X HB (almost total dependence commercially)
Walnuts X X Bees, other insects
Pistachio X Wind. Female flowers do not attract bees.
Coconut X Wind and insects, including bees
Peanuts X Self-pollinating
Butterscotch Mostly sugar, butter but usually has vanilla