Food

The Tough Process of Producing the Best Tupelo Honey

Tupelo honey in a bowl with a yellow flower beside it.

There are many varieties of honey on the market today. But very few can compare to the distinct taste and quality of tupelo honey. This special bee syrup has a noticeable light green tint, mainly if it is freshly harvested from the honeycomb and exposed to bright sunlight.

The taste of the best tupelo honey goes beyond mere sugary sweetness. One try, and you can easily taste a hint of cinnamon combined with a subtle aromatic flavor of anise. A discriminating palate can also savor a bit of citrusy and light buttery goodness. It tastes extraordinary, which is why it is always in demand despite its high price. 

Producing the best tupelo honey requires commitment, patience, and arduous work of beekeepers and cooperation from nature. To give you an idea and a new appreciation of tupelo honey, here are essential things about its production process that you should know:

Beekeepers Have a 2Week Window to Get Tupelo Honey Right

The best tupelo honey is produced by bees that feed on the sweet nectar of small pom pom-like flowers of white Ogeechee tupelo trees that grow on murky swamps of the Florida Panhandle and southeast parts of Georgia. Unlike other trees that blossom all-year-round, tupelo trees only bloom for two weeks during springtime. Given the limited time, beekeepers have tons of work to do to ensure that their bees can create one of the most special bee syrups in the world. 

As soon as the honey-gathering season starts, beekeepers must transport their hives along the muddy banks to be closer to the trees if they want to start producing the best tupelo. The beehives are often placed on elevated platforms to protect them during incidental flooding in the swamp. Some honey producers place their hives on a raft so they can float in the water where the tupelo flowers are abundant. 

Beekeepers Monitor Tupelo Flowers Consistently to Preserve Quality

Considering that beekeepers cannot wholly control the nectar-collecting activities of the bees, they must consistently monitor the condition of the tupelo blooms every day. They have to make sure that the trees are still producing fresh flowers. If they aren’t, the bees will find other kinds of flowers to extract. 

When honey bees feast on the nectar of different flowers, the quality of it will be compromised. Experts believe that many producers think that they are harvesting tupelo honey when, in fact, they only have gallberry syrup. Note that gallberry bushes are abundant in swamps that house tupelo trees. 

Beekeepers Need Good Environment Conditions for Tupelo Honey to Make Profit

Making a living out of insects requires a strong will and emotional stability, considering the unpredictability of the business. There are numerous factors beyond one’s control. For instance, producers need good weather to create healthy blooms on time.

This year, the Florida Panhandle experienced heavy rains and extreme weather conditions because of Hurricane Michael. This Category 5 hurricane drastically impacted the state of the tupelo trees and their flowering season. An abysmal honey-gathering activity ensued.

Honey Producers Need to Meet Specific Standards to Sell Tupelo Honey

According to the standards set by the International Commission of Bee Botany, tupelo honey should contain at least 46 percent of tupelo nectar to consider as “tupelo honey.” Reputable producers, however, will never sell this golden syrup unless it has at least 60 percent of tupelo nectar.

Tupelo honey is undoubtedly one incredible treat that only nature can offer. Producing the best tupelo honey is a testament that hard work and perseverance always produce remarkable results. 

 

collaborative post