There are several varieties of honey available locally. Generally, the first three weeks of May are the spring flow, when tulip poplar trees, locust trees, hollies, blackberries and more bloom. From this flow, beekeepers who are confident of the nectar/floral source label their honey specifically with the varietal: tulip poplar, locust, berry or berry blend. If they’re less certain of the source, they may label their spring harvest wildflower or mountain wildflower honey. The sourwood flow begins in mid- to late-June; sumac trees also bloom then. You may see this summer harvest labeled sourwood or sourwood sumac blend. “I’ve even labeled my jars Vintage Spring 2009, Taste of Summer 2010,” says Almond. “I like this concept, because honey is a lot like wine: each harvest is a bit different, sometimes radically different from year to year.”
From the Forest
How do you know you’re buying local honey? Start by looking for the Appalachian Grown logo, ASAP’s certification for products grown or raised on family farms in WNC and the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Then, you can even look for a specific Appalachian Grown honey logo (pictured above), a new ASAP initiative.
This year, in partnership with members of the WNC Forest Products Cooperative Marketing Project, ASAP is working to promote local forest products. In addition to honey, these include ramps, maple syrup, decorative greenery, medicinal herbs and watercress.
“Many farmers manage forest lands that can generate income, strengthen ecosystems, and produce delicious local foods at the same time,” says Peter Marks, ASAP’s Local Food Campaign director.
Find out which local farms offer these products from the forest through a specific search of ASAP’s Local Food Guide at http://buyappalachian.org/forest_products. To learn more about the WNC Forest Products Cooperative Marketing Project, visit http://www.wncforestproducts.org.