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Published on December 16th, 2010 | by Zoe

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A Teaspoon of Honey is the New ‘Apple a Day’

Last week it seemed like all of my friends si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly re­cov­ered from their colds, and I of­fered all of them the same tried and true ad­vice: lo­cal hon­ey. Hon­ey de­liv­ers pollen al­ler­gens found in the air around your area in small and man­age­able dos­es that build up the im­mune sys­tem. This has long been the idea be­hind natur­opa­thy, but it’s part of main­stream medicine as well. All you have to do is look at the re­cent ar­ti­cle re­gard­ing peanut al­ler­gies to re­al­ize most peo­ple’s bod­ies can de­vel­op a tol­er­ance to al­ler­gens over time.

I’ve been see­ing Mar­shall’s hon­ey over and over again at Whole Foods. Mar­shall’s spe­cial­izes in mi­cro­cli­mates in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and so has very lo­cal area blends such as “Marin Wild­flow­er,” “Sono­ma Wild­flow­er,” “Na­pa Val­ley Hon­ey,” and “Berke­ley ‘Buzzerke­ly’ Wild­flow­er.” They even cater to the al­ler­gy sea­son with spe­cial al­ler­gy re­lief packs; of which, it’s best to start con­sum­ing in win­ter, be­fore the al­ler­gy sea­son hits.

Gen­er­al­ly, the clos­er to home the bet­ter, but there is al­so a “Cal­i­for­nia Wild­flow­er” blend and sev­er­al oth­er spe­cial­ty hon­eys. They do va­ri­etal and sin­gle source hon­eys, of which my fa­vorite is the 5 star Star This­tle. It’s a light­ly-col­ored hon­ey with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing light fla­vor. It’s pure can­dy! And though I don’t rec­om­mend it for recipes be­cause it is not strong­ly sweet, I do rec­om­mend it for iced teas. Yum.

While run­ning through their lists of hon­ey, I al­so dis­cov­ered an or­gan­ic hon­ey, which some­what sur­prised me. Bees re­quire much dif­fer­ent stan­dards for or­gan­ic la­bel­ing than a lot of oth­er live­stock. The fly­ing ra­dius of the bee, around 3 km, means that not on­ly does the api­ary need to be placed on an or­gan­i­cal­ly-main­tained piece of land, but it must al­so be at least 3 km away from any chem­i­cal­ly-main­tained ones. The or­gan­ic hon­ey I tried had a dark look and a slight­ly grit­ty taste, but did not taste much dif­fer­ent than the oth­er hon­eys.

Most of their hon­eys are la­beled un­fil­tered and raw. They come in a range of sizes and prices from $3.50 for the wed­ding/par­ty fa­vor 2 oz. jars to $88 for a 12 lb jar. How one us­es that much hon­ey baf­fles the mind, but I sup­pose hon­ey lasts for­ev­er with­out re­frig­er­a­tion and that could be part of it.

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