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Tupelo Honey

Tupelo honey is a very rare, but sought after honey produced in the Florida Panhandle and to a much lesser extent in portions of southern Georgia.

White Tupelo Tree

White Tupelo DistributionTupelo honey is produced from the Ogeechee Tupelo (Nyssa ogeche) a.k.a. White Tupelo tree. The White Tupelo tree is a fast growing tree and reaches a height of 40 feet in 20 years.  Height at maturity is about 50 feet and some trees will grow to 70 feet.  The tree blooms for only two to three weeks in early April to early May.

According to the USDA Plant database you can find these trees in the lower, four southeastern states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Although there is some Tupelo honey harvested in South Georgia, the predominant population of Tupelo trees that supports commercial production of Tupelo honey is primarily along the rivers and swamps in the remote wetlands of the Florida Panhandle west of Leon County.

Most all Tupelo honey that is commercially produced comes from the river and swamp areas of the Apalachicola, Chipola and Ochlocknee rivers.

Tupelo Honey

Tupelo BloomTupelo honey is a very mild, smooth honey, light golden-amber color with a greenish cast and has a complex floral taste. Tupelo honey is higher in simple sugars than other honeys and as a result of its higher than average fructose content, it is the only honey that does not crystallize. Tupleo honey is the only honey known that Doctors sometimes allow diabetics to eat (always consult your physician first), due to its low sucrose content.

Because the White Tupelo bloom only lasts for 2 to 3 weeks, it takes a very skilled beekeeper to collect real Tupelo honey.  Prior to the White Tupelo bloom, bees are busy building their strength and honey stores from the Black Tupelo and other nectar plants.  The resulting honey from these sources is darker will granulate.  Beekeepers must strip the hives of all this honey immediately before locating their colonies for the White Tupelo bloom. 

Many beekeepers transport the hives via boat to remote, elevated platforms along the river.  Further complicating the Tupelo harvest and success is the weather.  In any given year too much rain or not enough can significantly impact that year’s Tupelo honey crop.

Tupelo honey is often used as a sweetener when you do not want a distinctive honey taste. This honey is also used with biscuits, toast, tea and coffee. Tupelo is a very good table honey.

In recent years the demand for Tupelo honey as grown to national and world-wide markets. Tupelo is one of the more rare honeys due to its limited geographic production region. Due to its confined location and the significant amount of work that the beekeeper has to accomplish in order to harvest real Tupelo honey, it sells for a premium price.

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