I was looking for some English honey in Sainsbury’s in Crystal Palace over the weekend.
I have to confess, for the purposes of this blog, that I do occasionally shop with the monopolistic supermarkets, but there we are. Let’s leave that on one side for a moment. The point is that, in this supermarket at least, one of the fake ‘choices’ before customers is between identical honeys. English honey is no longer considered an appropriate choice for us.
All we have to choose from is a selection of honey from other countries and some blended honeys, which use any bits and pieces that manufacturers can knit together from anywhere they can find it. Which are also heat-treated to destroy any local diversity and naturally occurring enzymes.
Bland, over-screen, de-natured honey, that’s all we are allowed, as if we hadn’t noticed that the bees making honey nearer home are disappearing.
Now, I think local honey is an absolutely vital symbol of everything we stand for – in this blog at least – and it is a big worry if it is suddenly unavailable.
Local honey is at least a potential cure for hay fever, because it provides a homeopathic dose of the local pollen, if you keep taking it from the previous autumn. But its continued existence, in the face of all the new diseases that are threatening our bee colonies, is some guarantee of continued diversity.
We need bees to do their pollinating in our country, not just the handful of places where supermarkets decide to source their honey (Brazil, Canada and Australia).
So this is my suggestion. That we try very carefully to buy absolutely no more blended honey, no honey which isn’t from anywhere in particular, and chase down local honey – at least regional honey – where ever we can. That we insist on real, local honey, on such a scale that its production continues in the face of whatever peril the bees are facing from the modern world.
The more we insist on buying local honey, the more we keep the craft of local beekeeping alive and the more we hold out – not just against the systems that are destroying our bees – but against bland, identikit, technocratic food, and bland, identikit technocratic honey in particular.
We may not be able to regulate banks all by ourselves, or wrest the pension rights from Sir Fred Goodwin, or to cancel the new Heathrow runway. But at least we can make a stand and shun fake honey.
Find out more here: http://www.beedata.com/localhoney/