|My two favorite honeys, on the left is local, from Catawba Valley and on the right is Bee Raw Wild Raspberry, yummy!|
If you are a honey fan, like me, you might find the following info pretty interesting/eye-opening/holy blankity blank...
I recently heard a short story on the NPR show Living on Earth about a researcher who's shedding some light on a shady business practice that both threatens our health and the livelihood of our local and legitimate bee-keepers and honey producers. You can listen to it here, it's only about six minutes long. Basically, it's about fake honey that's being sold at national big name stores. Honey that's originally from China is having the pollen removed (so no one can tell it's from China) and relabeling it as American honey. When I think about honey (and anything else food-related) coming from China, I always hear this sound clip in my head, you may recognize it from Kill Bill. Once the pollen is removed, it's no longer nutritious, medicinal, or technically honey, just sugary syrup.
Last year I read of these and other dubious practices in a book titled "The Honey Trail" by Grace Pundyk. In addition to removing the pollen, some companies are blending honey with amber dyed corn syrup and selling it as "pure honey". They can sell it super cheap, which in turn drives the price down for real honey producers, at a time when they really can't afford it. It's a fascinating and at times very depressing book, but worth the read for sure. You can listen to a wonderful interview with the author here on the Diane Rehm Show. It's a long one at 51 minutes, but well worth a listen.
So what are you to do as a responsible honey consumer? It's easy really, just head down to your local farmers market and find someone selling their honey. Or ask the fruit sellers, orchardists almost always know someone who keeps bees. Honey that is local to you has the most health benefits, people have believed for centuries in it's ability to combat pollen allergies. There are also several brands out there who are committed to selling the real deal, in particular I'm a fan of Bee Raw Honey, available in many upscale grocery stores or online.
What? You don't like honey? I'm so sorry but you're really missing out. It's like saying you're a gardener but you don't like getting your hands dirty!