By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
Dearborn, Mich. – Walk into Dearborn’s Asal Bee and you’ll likely feel transported into a different world, where Yemen’s fields of flowers and natural honey are celebrated, and the sweet taste of honey flows. This is one of Dearborn’s newest business ventures, run by Muaath Alghazali, and it’s already becoming an important destination for some of the highest-quality honey available in Southeast Michigan.
The organic honey destination opened just under a month ago. It started when Alghazali first became a point of connection for Yemeni honey in his community. From there, the business slowly grew until Asal Bee became a brick-and-mortar store.
“People would ask about the honey after I brought it as a gift,” Alghazali said. “Then I would distribute it to people and store, and from there, I opened the store.”
Asal Bee is a store that sells more than just organic honey. Their products range from candies and chocolates, to medicines and perfumes that all depend on honey for their distinct qualities. As people walk into the store, the decoration invites people to become immersed in the world of faraway farmers whose craft is dedicated to the honey that is sold.
Like all businesses, Asal Bee has its challenges. As a venture that’s opening during the Coronavirus pandemic, there is an inherent risk that the business may not be successful. But this, Alghazali says, is not the only obstacle for the business.
With the conflict in Yemen, there is a long wait for new shipments of its honey, sourced from farmers in the besieged country. “We have difficulty because of the war,” Alghazali said.
First, the honey starts in Yemen, then it’s transported through Saudi Arabia before eventually arriving in Dearborn. Customers who came in seemed to enjoy the taste of this honey sourced from Yemen. It had complicated flavors and a rich sweetness that was distinct from most other kinds of honey.
Honey is a unique commodity for the moment in history, as research points to its unique properties as a cough suppressant. Although it should not replace modern medicine, research shows that it can offer relief from symptoms of certain common illnesses. “Honey helps for a lot,” Alghazali said.
Sidr honey (pronounced Sid-jra) is one of the honeys that many health practitioners around the world say offers the many health benefits associated with honey. Sold at Asal Bee, the honey is sourced from bees that pollenate the Sidr trees, common in the Eastern region of Yemen.
For now, business is good for AsalBee. On a Friday, dozens of people passed through to sample and buy the organic honeys and other products. But as the pandemic subsides, Alghazali says business is expected to be better.
AsalBee is located at 10503 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI. Its hours are 11am to 9pm, but are likely to change during Ramadan.