Updated: Jun 7, 2020
You've heard about it, and probably seen it at some point at your local farmers market - but what is the big deal with local honey, and why should you buy it?
Honey is a product we harvest from the lovely little Apis mellifera. These bees collect plant nectar from numerous sources, store, dehydrate, and change the nectar into what we know as honey.
A few months later, a beekeeper comes along, harvests the golden syrup, and sells it to customers.
Honey itself is an ancient treat. Humans have eaten it for several thousands of years. We've done this for a number of reasons, namely for its enticing sweet flavor and its ability to lift just about any regular dish from ok to fantastic.
This delectable bee syrup has also been used medicinally for centuries.
In fact, honey still serves an important role as a natural sweetener and a medicine to this day.
But why use local honey verses the store bought brands in the local box shops?
Here's why you should buy local honey.
1. Local honey is usually sold raw.
What is raw honey you ask? Just that, honey that is raw. It has not been processed outside of general extraction methods which include dripping or spinning honey from beeswax honey comb. No extra ingredients or chemicals are included in raw honey - so it's just the way nature intended.
2. Local honey is like getting an allergy shot without the needle! it builds your immunity to local plant allergies.
Local honey, because it is raw, still contains pollen that bees have collected from hundreds of nearby plants. By ingesting this pollen in the raw honey, your body builds up an immunity and does not freak out and cause allergic reactions when coming into contact with local flora. Eating honey is a much more pleasant alternative to getting stuck with a cold pointy needle or popping pills when dealing with hay fever.
3. Other health benefits
Local (raw) honey has multiple health benefits when consumed in small amounts on the regular. For instance, local honey is packed with antioxidants which are known to help boost immune systems against viruses and harmful bacteria that may try to enter your system. Local honey has been found to also lower cholesterol. When sweetening up food or drinks, local honey is a healthier alternative than processed (bleached) sugar or sugar substitutes such as Sweet-n-Low. Local honey can be used as a salve on burns and wounds, and you won't have to worry about any other chemicals mixing in. Lastly, it's an organic cough suppressor that's safe to give to kids.
4. May be safer than store bought
In the last decade investigations have found that not all store bought honey was, well... honey. It's a practice called "honey laundering" and is becoming more and more common. Some producers dilute their honey with sugar water. Others even import cheap honey substitutes from other countries that may have harmful antibiotics and other chemicals in them! Get to know your local beekeepers and you'll have a clear idea of what's in your raw honey - you may even get to watch them harvest it yourself!
5. Support local agriculture and beekeepers
When you buy local honey, you're support your local farmers and beekeepers. These people work tirelessly to grow healthy and beautiful food for our communities. Find yourself some local sources, make a friend, contribute to our local economies, and eat some delicious raw honey. It's all worth it.
6. Help the environment
By supporting local beekeepers, you enable them to continue raising local bees. This is super important for maintaining our ability to pollinate plants within our local environments which keeps the overall ecosystem running smoothly.
Overall, there are multiple benefits to buying local honey from a local beekeeper - whether you're interested in the health benefits, supporting your local economy, or you'd just like some sweet, delicious honey - by purchasing local honey you can make a difference in our food supply and make our future more sustainable.
Find your local beekeepers today and try out local raw honey!