By Chef Alli on August 1, 2017
Have you been lucky enough to find local honey in your area? Scouting out farmers markets will often put us in direct contact with local beekeepers who are willing to sell honey on a regular basis. Plus, local beekeepers frequently have other wonderful products for sale as well, such as beeswax, bee pollen and maybe even a beehive, if you are so inclined.
Below are a few questions to consider when approaching a beekeeper about purchasing their honey:
1) Is your honey mixed with any additives?
An advantage to buying honey from local honey sellers is the superior product they provide, compared to what is typically available at major super markets. Sometimes store-purchased honey isn’t honey at all – it’s often found to be more of a combination of high-fructose corn syrup and sweeteners. Buying honey locally can help ensure you get honey that is raw, unfiltered and pure.
2) Is your honey filtered?
When honey is ultra-filtered, the nutritional benefits of raw honey are greatly diminished. The process of heating honey is called pasteurization (which prolongs shelf life), forcing the proteins out of the honey, removing natural health properties in the process. Local suppliers skip this step, keeping their honey raw, pure and unfiltered. Good beekeepers will also know the assortment of local flowers the bees used for nectar and pollen, a good indicator of how robust and distinct the flavors of the honey will likely be.
3) Is your honey organic?
If your local honey supplier is reputable, they will know this is a claim that is very difficult to make. Because honeybees fly an average of two miles from their hives in search of nectar and pollen, it is nearly impossible for most honey to be 100 percent organic – a hive would have to be in the center of a minimum of 16 square miles of organic plants. (That said, the organic honey we are purchasing from a super market is most often just a ploy to inflate prices.) If you approach a local beekeeper who is touting absolute 100 percent organic honey, do your research!
Once you've found that delicious honey, try one my favorite recipes: Honey Drizzled Goat Cheese Crostini.