Tupelo honey is the cream of the crop when it comes to all the different honeys around the world. Produced when bees use nectar from blossoms of trees called Ogeechee Tupelos, tupelo honey is not found in most traditional food stores because these trees are found strictly in wetlands of Georgia and Florida. The bloom is restricted to 2-3 weeks between April and May, but can be disrupted by many different factors. If something happens to that year’s crop, tupelo honey won’t be in abundance until the following year. Pure tupelo honey is also hard to come by because of cross-pollination. It’s hard for beekeepers to keep the bees limited to just the nectar of the Ogeechee Tupelos, but if they pollinate with any other type of blossom, the tupelo honey cannot be sold as pure.
Beekeepers have to execute the timing of the release of bees to be precise because of the limited flowering time for the trees. Beekeepers house the bees on remote docks that are only reachable by means of a boat. Beekeeper George Watkins identified a few different reasons as to why tupelo honey is limited in production and could possibly face extinction in the future.
The harvesting season is short:
as noted before, the harvesting season for tupelo honey is only 2-3 weeks long at most. If the weather happens to be poor, or there are other unforeseen circumstances, the crop could be ruined for the year.
The harvest is labor intensive:
Beekeepers must make sure their timing on the harvest is precise. This requires special equipment and a ton of time dedicated to the crop. The bees need to be managed around the clock because of the possibility of cross-contamination. Because of the remote docks where bees are kept, beekeepers have to travel back and forth by boat in heavy gear and high temperatures.
mosquitoes often overrun the wetlands where the Tupelo trees grow. Because of this, the local government often sprays chemicals to overhaul the bugs, making it difficult for the beekeepers and the bees to do their job.
the specific area where tupelo honey is harvested is also home to a ton of construction. The Gulf Coast area is undergoing a development boom, which takes up miles and miles of the precious coastline. This in itself could put future yields of tupelo honey and other animals in plants in danger.
Because tupelo honey is a specialty item, U.S beekeepers are able to make a decent living off the sales of it. Other more traditional honey however, is being imported for much cheaper, yet the quality is much lower. Chinese honey, Mexican honey, and Vietnamese honey, has nothing on the honey that’s homegrown in the United States.
United States honey companies like Smiley Honey sells all sorts of homegrown pure honey, including Smiley Honey’s Tupelo Honey. Their honey supply comes from the Apalachicola river basin region, which runs through the Florida panhandle. This area has the most-dense concentrations of tupelo trees in the world. Raw tupelo honey is extra light amber in color and has a floral taste but warm finish.
Smiley Honey’s Tupelo Honey can be used in every situation that normal honey can be used in, except it has a unique flavor you won’t find in traditional honey. You can find recipes for cocktails, desserts, marinades, and even things like biscuits that involve tupelo honey. Many people enjoy it in a light tea or drizzled on top of an English muffin.
Tupelo honey could possibly see the end of its days in the coming years. While nothing’s certain, the fact that tupelo honey is for sale today is certain. Before you don’t have the chance to try this cream of the crop honey, by some today at Smiley Honey.