If you’re buying honey in cute little Winnie the Pooh-shaped bottles, or if you think you’re saving money by getting the sweet stuff at Rite Aid or Walgreens, you may want to reconsider. Recent studies have found that more than a third of the honey consumed in the U.S. has probably been smuggled in from China, despite a ban by the FDA. And that much of the honey sold here has had its pollen filtered out — which hides its origins and makes it (technically) not honey at all. Honey of suspect origins may be tainted with antibiotics, heavy metals, or who knows what else. Three-quarters of grocery store honey had all its pollen removed; 100 percent of drug store honey had no pollen.
So what’s a honey lover to do? Lucky for Baltimoreans, there’s a small but vibrant honey culture happening right under our noses. Here’s a few ways to get honey that’s for sure not from China — because it’s from right down the block:
- Baltimore Honey is essentially a CSA for bees. A membership share is $45, and gets you a pound of micro-local, organic raw honey. Sign up soon; spots are limited.
- Really Raw Honey is a Baltimore-based network of family beekeepers across the country. Their honey is available online, and at fancier grocery stores citywide.
- Given its name, no surprise that Mt. Vernon’s Milk & Honey Market sells small batches of honey by local hobby beekeepers. Some are kind of pricey, but once you start with quality honey, you’ll never go back.
- Become a beekeeper yourself! Make friends with the bees, harvest your own honey, and know exactly what you’re eating. Info on supplies, beekeeping courses, and Baltimore’s bee laws here.
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