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Local Spotlight: Deep South Honey

Natural Times, April/May/June 2012

By Bridget Welch, LMT

Deep in the wetlands of Florida’s panhandle is the source for a rare and truly delicious honey. At Deep South Honey, based in Chattahoochee, Florida, three generations of beekeeping experience combine to provide the best quality tupelo honey available. Co-founder Andrew Finch grew up learning beekeeping from his uncles. He saw tupelo honey production as a lucrative business opportunity, and, as he says, “It’s better than working in a cubicle in a big city; you’re out in the woods all day.” When Finch chose to go into business for himself, he asked his friend Nathan McDonald, an educator, if he would like to start the business with him.

According to Finch, tupelo honey is one of the world’s most rare and finest honeys. “Tupelo honey is as unique to the South as mint juleps and shade leaf tobacco. In every jar of Deep South Honey, know that you are getting the uniqueness of the Deep South.”

Tupelo honey is made from the nectar of the tupelo tree found only on remote Southeastern rivers, blooming for a few days every April. In northern Florida, beekeepers keep beehives along the river swamps on platforms or floats during tupelo bloom to produce certified tupelo honey. The nearby Apalachicola River is a concentrated area of the trees whose nectar is used by bees to make this tasty honey. Tupelo trees produce a very light, mild-tasting honey. The honey is produced wherever any of the three species of tupelo trees bloom in the southeastern U.S., but the purest version, which is certified by pollen analysis, is produced in the panhandle area of Florida.

Here at New Leaf Market, we carry Deep South Honey’s products, including their fresh, all natural raw, unfiltered Tupelo Honey and Wildflower Honey. Finch says when you filter honey through cheesecloth to make it look prettier, you lose a lot of the pollen and a lot of what is good for you.

Tupelo honey has such a high ratio of fructose to glucose that it does not crystallize, so its beauty and flavor are long lasting. Of course, you’ll probably eat it all before it ever gets old anyway!