The Secret Life of Bees

Local honey is the bee’s knees.

Lydia Woolever - August 2017

The Secret Life of Bees

Local honey is the bee’s knees.

Lydia Woolever - August 2017

-David Colwell

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For the longest time we just thought of honey as the stuff that comes in the little bear bottle with a yellow cap. But with local sourcing on the rise, and refined sugar doing a death spiral, artisanal honeys—as pure and natural as it comes—are all the buzz. In fact, according to the National Honey Board, there are more than 300 unique types of honey produced in the United States. In Maryland alone, there are more than 2,000 beekeepers, from commercial caretakers to backyard enthusiasts. 

Honey is full of nuance, its flavors and colors influenced by the seasonal flowers that honeybees pollinate, ranging in taste—from fruit-forward and floral to woodsy and earthy—and tint, from flaxen and golden to amber and molasses. In Maryand, these sweet syrups are a way to taste our region’s diverse terrain. We are known as “America in Miniature,” after all.

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H.T. Krantz HONEY CO.
Raised in the fields of Frederick amid clover, alfalfa, or in this case, local wildflowers, this light delight is as smooth and pure as they come—even approved by ultimate locavore, chef Spike Gjerde. Bird in Hand, 11 E. 33rd St., 410-814-0373

This small-batch, Baltimore-bred, ooey-gooey gold is influenced by the city’s flora and foliage, including local flowering trees such as the Locust, Poplar, Redbud, and Linden, giving it a fresh, ambrosial tang. Atwater’s, 815 Frederick Road, Catonsville, 410-747-4120

At the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains in the countryside of Thurmont, this clover-infused confection is amber-toned and herbaceous with a peppery spice. (Best of all, it’s sold in one of those adorable aforementioned bear bottles.) Whole Foods, 1001 Fleet St., 410-528-1640

This caramel-colored autumn honey is harvested along a breathtaking edge of the Chesapeake Bay in Kent Island on the Eastern Shore. Its silky finish is imparted with the bold floral flavors of native Maryland plants, and a hint of salt from the shoreline’s brackish waters. Honey House, 10209 Grand Central Ave., Owings Mills, 410-363-2200

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