My daughter and I were on the lookout for local honey. Recently a sweet friend of mine had mentioned (in the middle of one of my particularly nasty hay fever attacks) that if I began taking a daily dose of the most local honey I could find, then I would build up an immunity to the local pollens that aggravate my sinuses and eyes so much this time of year. Well, that seemed to make sense, and there are days when I would try just about anything to relieve the symptoms that come with the seasonal allergies I have struggled with since I was five years old. What could be simpler (or tastier!) than a couple of teaspoons of honey a day in my tea, on my yogurt or oatmeal, or maybe topping some juicy melons with a bit of granola?
So one evening while driving home from a dance rehearsal we spotted a sign, “bee crossing” and “local honey.” Excitedly we made a mental note to come back when we had the chance. I always enjoy the adventure of exploring a new and local source for any agricultural, or other, type of product.
This past Sunday, after church and chores, we decided it was time to venture down the road a way and see if we could meet some local beekeeping neighbors. It was a beautiful, sunny day for a country drive, and it was only a short jaunt over the hill before we once again spied the hand lettered sign and honeybee crossing. Pulling into the drive, we were excited to realize that we were still on our own road! (It’s a long road.) How much more local can you get?
A little giggly and nervous, the two of us made our way up onto the front porch to knock. It was a nice log cabin style home with flowers lining the walk up to the house. I let out a nervous giggle and elbowed my daughter as I looked down at the porch chair and table to our left where a pellet gun and its ammo rested. An older gentleman answered the creaky screen door and told us he would get his son when we inquired about the honey.
“Do you want the light or dark?” He asked, as he invited us in to wait for his son to come down.
“Well, I don’t know,” I answered. “What’s the difference?” Allow me to interject right here how little I know about honey. It’s sweet. Bees make it and it tastes good. I know it’s good for me, especially in its raw form, and never spoils. That’s about all I know, as fascinating as I actually do find the topic of bee keeping.
In a short while Anthony came downstairs and we introduced ourselves. We asked some questions and he confirmed that he too had heard that local honey can help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. We learned that the difference between light and dark honey is that the light version is made in spring/summer, and that the dark version is their winter honey. I chose the summer honey since it would contain the pollens that normally send me reeling in a fit of sneezes.
Curious, I asked how far the bees will travel for their pollen? Anthony knowledgeably stated that they would fly up to 3-5 miles. I smiled imagining that the bees that produced this honey may have rested on my own perennials!
After securing a good-sized bottle of the sticky golden sweetener, and a complimentary flavored honey stick for a treat, we thanked the two gentlemen and said our goodbyes while voicing hopes of another visit in the future.
On the drive home we discussed how great it is to know that local honey is so close by, and that someone is caring for the honeybees in our area. They are so important to our crops.
What a simple pleasure it will be to enjoy a cup of tea with a bit of honey and cinnamon on the back porch. Wondering if the bees resting on one flower and then the next in my perennial garden, will be buzzing their way back to the hive to manufacture my next bottle of honey?