Why is "Local" important when it comes to honey?
One of our neighbors considers our honey "local" and another thinks that the local honey sold at the local farm stand or even a nearby supermarket is as local honey as ours. However, the presence of the farmer's name on the label is not assurance that the honey is indeed from the locale bee farm where it is bought or jarred. This is because wholesale companies import large quantities of cheap honey and do not hesitate to customize the label with their clients’ farm name on the jar. Consequently, consumers may unwittingly purchase honey from China, Argentina, or other places far from where they live and sometimes purchase honey produced by honey bees that have been sustained with a diet of corn syrup. Furthermore, the honey is often filtered and heated to sustain a greater shelf life as evidenced by the lack of crystallization.
This is problematic for several reasons. First, such honey lacks the natural local pollen which helps one's immune system cope with locally-induced allergies. When one purchases honey that is procured from afar, one jeopardizes the quality of honey and an opportunity to enjoy a better health.
Second, purchasing imported honey has considerable implications for local agriculture. Many crops such as blueberries, alfalfa, apples and pumpkins depend on honey bees for pollination. Bees are also indirectly responsible for supporting both the meat and the dairy industries. Ultimately, honey bees and the beekeepers who keep them alive are critical to the production of nearly one-third of this nation’s food supply.
In light of this, we argue that local beekeepers need to be supported. The local beekeeper community is very small, tight-knit, and keenly aware of the amount of effort that is required for colony health and honey extraction. Beekeepers, in addition to regular honey bee colonies maintenance and raw local honey harvesting, must deal with diseases and pests such as Varroa and Trachea mites, and Colony Collapse Disorder which kill the bees, not to mention foraging bears which can destroy an entire bee yard in one night. In light of our respect for these efforts, we not to try to sell our product to a farmer already supplied by one of our community members. For all these reasons, we believe that purchasing truly local honey is important for maintaining personal health, a strong local agriculture, and an investment in your community.