Local Honey has been in the headlines lately and the demand for honey from your local beekeeper is becoming the go to source with Facebook and local forums allowing great mediums of access to who has a good supply. Let’s hope the supermarket chains don’t start the honey wars as they have with milk and meat in an attempt to take market share with honey which has been reported to be impure, contaminated, synthetic and imported.
An interesting fact is that the world population buys, sells and consumes more honey than can possibly be produced by the number of honey producing bee colonies in the world. How so? Because there are cartels (organised criminals around the world trading this precious golden commodity laced with synthetic fillers. These syrups are tracked and tested by the national and international honey testing laboratories who are forever playing catch up with the types of synthetic fillers that the honey underworld literally pumps and mixes into honey. The laboratories can’t keep up. No sooner have they identified new substances in order to monitor and control imported and domestic honey produce, that the illegal honey traders have changed the recipe, to who knows what? The authorities and regulators are back to the drawing board.
What was once rice syrup, corn syrup and at lease a plant based substance could now be literally anything. A great Netflix doco to watch is the very first episode of “Rotten”. This is the best motivation to source your own local honey provider – or better still find out about hosting a hive – you will not get more local honey than this. Just ensure that hives professionally managed to ensure they are healthy and free of disease.
Aside from potential additives, the heating of honey is often said to be harmful to the good bacterial benefits of honey. Local honey in warmer climates should rarely require warming or heating to allow it to flow easier during processing. Think of honey as a slow food – from the flower to the table it should be like the process of a good wine.
There is anecdotal evidence that consumption of local honey also assists with allergies and hay fever caused by local flora.
By no means is all store bought honey “fake” but given Australia imports a lot of its honey and that there are a number of foreign owned honey companies, the only 100% sure way to ensure your honey is pure, raw and local is to get it close to home from your local beekeeper.
Supporting local businesses, particularly those with such benefit to the environment in terms of pollination of so many of our other food sources – it’s a no brainer. We are less inclined to spray poison in our own back yards which also contaminates bees and honey eventually. We know that pesticides and herbicides are used widely in global and national agriculture industries, so doing what we can in our own back yards with our bees does and will help with the purity of the produce we consume.
We all love the convenience of everything being in one place at the supermarket. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was locally sourced as a policy? Local markets, local Facebook groups, neighbours, a drive in the country often yield good local fresh honey producers, so seek them out. It’s all part of the fun. Showing the kids where the good stuff comes from whether honey, fruit and veges, artisan breads and local meats – not in a box and a plastic bag.
Hosting a hive is a great way to start and get interested in honey – it’s inexpensive and it generally gives back more than it takes in terms of honey. Host a hive processing facilities will do the work for you and you simply get honey, pollination, and you contribute to the environment whilst watching our bees come and go. It can be quite a cathartic past time watching them work. Plant some natives and watch them flourish.
I’ll go local any day for all of the right reasons and yes you will see me at the supermarket like any busy Dad or Mum – but where possible, I buy local at a market, from a mate or grow it in my garden. I know where it came from, how old it is and what was not sprayed on it.