Tupelo Honey Season, Excitement in the Air

Tupelo Honey

Tupelo HoneyThere is a tangible excitement in the air as the honeybees are loaded on sleeping bear farms trucks for their annual trip to the Tupelo river bottoms of the Florida panhandle.
The beekeeper arrives at dawn to load the honeybees on the truck before the day’s first flight. We wait until the Tupelo starts to bloom before the exodus begins so the bees are in the midst of millions of blooms on the river bottoms and direct all their energy into harvesting this one special nectar.
Bees will gather nectar from the nearest source with the highest sugar concentration and timing is crucial to get the purest Tupelo possible with the best flavor unique to Tupelo honey.
Other honey plants and trees bloom right before and after Tupelo trees. High bush Gallberry blooms right before Tupelo but has a different flavor and crystallizes very fast. After the Tupelo trees stop secreting nectar the Low Bush Gallberry will yield a nice light honey, but it also has a different flavor.
There is more than one species of Tupelo. The most delectable is Nyssa Ogeche, commonly called white Tupelo or Ogeechee Tupelo. That is the prize we are after to put in our jars.

Tupelo Honey Bees
Honey Bees

Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) blooms right before Ogeechee Tupelo and yields a nice light honey, but it crystallizes quickly. We manage the bees to avoid mixing the Ogeechee Tupelo with the Black Gum, but there is usually a small amount mixed in as the bees are always flying to the most ready source of nectar.

Every year we are excited with electric anticipation of the new bloom of Tupelo in April. We watch for the signs of the impending approach, such as the appearance of Kite birds in the gulf region. We watch for the signs and the move is on to capture the flow. It is a cultural tradition we are proud to be part of.

5 thoughts on “Tupelo Honey Season, Excitement in the Air

  1. Pingback: Tupelo Honey - Apiary News | Real Raw Honey

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