I’m all for getting behind local produce, supporting local businesses and reducing carbon footprints and wotnot. Getting your hands on local produce may not always be as easy as you think though- some time ago whilst shopping to assemble a tart tartin I made a purposeful detour past Tesco to a small independent greengrocers for the apples. He had two varieties on sale that day, both from New Zeland. Really? And before you ask yes it was apple season. Ludicrous. Not to put a slur on international foodstuffs but the UK has some amazing produce to offer and a seriously struggling farming community and picking lamb or strawberries or apples and pears that come from halfway around the world is only twisting the knife further in the proverbial back of the British Farmer. I’m not extreme enough to moan about imports of stuff that cannot and does not grow here, have all the mangoes and bananas you want, but quite frankly if you don’t buy local where you can then shame on you.
I could go on but this is a place of edibles not soap boxes so if those factors aren’t enough to make you consider your shopping trolley contents then maybe have a little think about all the wonderful morsels that might be right on your doorstep that you are missing out on. My little corner of England’s green and pleasant land is mostly known for oysters, which I love but don’t tend to like me an awful lot but I still attend various oyster themed food and drink events in and around town during the summer. The last one, as I have touched on before, was something of a disappointment however I was massively glad to come across these lovely people and their local honey. Webbers, I give you The Essex Bee Keeper:
Lovely people, flogging their lovely honey plus various bee friendly planting seeds with a nice sideshow of busy bees to entertain the kids (and me). Hurrah! Best stall of the day on this occasion if memory serves.
But honey is honey, right? Why should we care? Well to start off, honey is not just a pleasingly sweet goo that goes well on your toast. As well as being sweeter and more nutritionally sound than traditional table sugar, honey also contains various nutritional nuggets that aid your general energy use, cell repair processes and immune system function. It’s not really possible to run off a definitive list of components as this is highly variable depending on the bees and their diet and how individual honeys are processed but you can be sure on two things- honey is nice and it honey is good for you. The UK is pretty much smothered with honey producers and in broader terms I would encourage anyone to indulge in any of them, but let’s talk about this one from my locality.
And local is the word, this honey originates less than two miles from my humble abode which appeals to me for all of the before ranted reasons and also because I am laid to waste by terrible hayfever every summer. Snotty nose, streaming eyes, pounding head, it’s horrible and in fact worse for anyone who has to be around me while I’m suffering as I moan about it like the proverbial drain. Much as I’d love to spend two months of the year taking daily drugs to push back the symptoms, it is as easy and arguably as effective to take a little local honey every morning. Huh? There is science to this but basically bees+pollen=honey so by eating locally produced honey you are taking in a little local pollen at the same time, which your body becomes used to then hopefully doesn’t feel a need to react quite so violently to it come hayfever season. It’s a nice theory, a proven theory and a damn site healthier than pumping yourself full of cetrizine all summer long.
AND IT’S NICE!!!! This honey in particular is incredibly light and clean tasting, not over sweet and without that lovely cloying after taste your over processed supermarket brands might leave behind. And it’s not going to cost you a ridiculously small fortune to add to your cupboard either (I’m scowling at you, Manuka). And once it’s in your cupboard, it shouldn’t be for too long as you should be scooping it out and fooding it up! It’s not just for hot drinks when you have a cold you should be experimenting with honey in your baking and BBQ marinades, dressings and sauces and yes absolutely in your porridge of a winters morning (with some cinnamon. heaven.).
So go forth and buy honey, from these lovely people if you can manage it.
you can contact the essex bee keeper on firstname.lastname@example.org