If there's anything better than local honey I'm not really sure what it is. The golden-amber goodness that comes from our friends the honey bee is really something magical.
Honey bees have been around up to 120 million years (some sources say 40 million, regardless, it's safe to say they're an ancient species). Man and bee have been coexisting for a very long time and evidence of beekeeping goes back at least to 6000 BC based on cave paintings. The honey bee is not a native of North American, but was brought from Europe to South America in 1538. According to the Los Angelas County Beekeepers Association:
"The creation of the United States can be found in the footsteps of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.). Brought to the east coast of North America in 1622 it would be 231 years before the honey bee reached the west coast. Disease, hostile competitors, harsh climates, and geographical barriers blocked the advance of honey bee and human alike."
Honey bees visit local plants in search of pollen and nectar that they then take back to their hives and transform into amazing liquid gold. As a general rule of thumb, bees travel a 2 mile radius of the hive to collect. Because of the local nature, it has long been suggested that people should consume raw honey from hives as close to their home as possible to get the highest health benefits from it.
Some of these health benefits include:
-Antibacterial and antifungal properties
-Boosts immune system
-Relives digestive issues -Soothes sore throat and cough
Why buy raw over pasteurized? According to the website Better Hens and Gardens, raw honey goes through large mesh filters to pull out any debris that became trapped during the natural honey making process but leaves the traces of pollen. This website goes on to say:
"In the U.S., the FDA says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. But, no ones checking U.S. honey to see if it contains pollen. Ultra filtering is a procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down, and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen (which is the only foolproof method of identifying the source of the honey)."
Use local honey as a natural sweetener. You can even substitute it in baking following some simple conversions as shared in The Kitchn blog.
Research links: https://www.losangelescountybeekeepers.com/history-of-honey-bees-in-ameri https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/history-of-beekeeping.html https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/top-raw-honey-benefits