Sourwood Honey The medium-height tree or small shrub that is indigenous to the United States and grows at higher elevations in the Appalachians of northern Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and southern Pennsylvania. It is also known as sorrel tree, sour gum, elk tree, and lily-of-the-valley. Blooms from June to August, small window of time in which beekeepers can bring their colonies to collect nectar from the flowers. Flavor is floral and light with hints of baking spices and anise. Firm acidity. Colour ranges from pure white to light amber. Smooth, caramel buttery quality.
A Sticky Situation Scarce population of sourwood trees. Bloom period is short and sensitive to rainfall. Trees need enough sunlight to produce nectar which can be difficult because sourwood trees are shorter and shaded out by other trees around them. Difficult to transplant. Production is challenging because beekeepers must be timely when harvesting so bees do not harvest any nectar from other flowering plants. Strict guidelines state that if polluted from other varietals it cannot be sold as sourwood. Sourwood trees are threatened by development. Alarming and mysterious phenomenon known as Colony Collapse could potentially to destroy the “less specialized and smaller scale” business practices.
Revival & Survival Sourwood Festival, sponsored by the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, is named after the regions important honey source, the Sourwood tree, which blooms in mid to late summer each year. Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, an effort to promote planting bee-friendly trees during reclamation. Tammy Horn, International Coal Group (ICG) and James River Coal have planted more than 10,000 sourwood trees during reclamation last year. Goal is to build a self-sustaining co-op to sell honey produced by the bees at the reclaimed mine sites. The Georgia Native Plant Society has active conservation, restoration and education programs. It only removes wild plants that are threatened and they are in turn sold. The proceeds go towards sponsor scholarships and research targeted at native plant preservation. Many of the rescued plants are donated to restoring public space such as schools.
Notable Figures Small Morris Bateman 1131 Long Branch Road Topton, NC 28781 828-321-4539 The Savannah Bee Company 2604 Causton Bluff Road #B Savannah, GA 31404 912-34-0688 http://www.savannahbee.com/ Spring Hill Merchant 877-891-6389 Blue Ridge Honey Company PO Box 15 Lakemont, GA 30552 http://www.BlueRidgeHoneyCompany.com Nortons Nut and Honey330 Irvin St.Reidsville, NC 27320Tel. 001 336-342-4490www.sourwoodhoney.com Mikes Honey bees North havenRaleigh, NC 27615 919-368-5865 www.mikeshoneybees.com
Works Cited http://www.ag-econ.ncsu.edu/VIRTUAL_LIBRARY/ECONOMIST/julyaug03.pdf http://www.slowfoodfoundation.org/eng/arca/dettaglio.lasso?cod=1046&prs=0 http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/ http://www.physorg.com/news172252185.html