Finding Real Local Honey

Jars of locally produced raw honey at The Las Vegas Farm.
Photo by Osie Turner

Usually when you want a food item, you simply go the grocery store and buy it. So why search for unprocessed local honey when the supermarket has a few to choose from? As it turns out, “local” may be truly local; but what does it matter? Quite a bit, depending on what you need it for.

One of the main reasons you may want local honey is for treatment of allergies. As you may already know, bees eat the nectar of flowers and make it into honey, but they also eat the pollen itself. By ingesting these trace amounts of pollen form the honey your body should build up a tolerance to it, at least that is the idea behind it.

Their honey has trace amounts of what they eat, as well as nutrients (vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and different types of enzymes) that feed their larvae. These nutrients are believed by many to have great health benefits for humans as well as baby bees. It may have antioxidants in it as well.

When choosing honey for health purposes, it is important to make sure of a few things beforehand. The honey cannot have been heated to speed up the jarring process as the heat will kill the enzymes. Adding sugar, or anything else for that matter, will also dilute and weaken any probiotics the honey had. If you are buying it for help with allergies, the bees must live where you live.

A Google search revealed a number of options for finding local honey in Las Vegas, but after looking into them, most were not truly local. The Las Vegas Farm, near the Tule Springs State Park in North Las Vegas, was the only place that I could verify kept the bees on site and does not process the honey at all, besides moving it from the hives to the jar.

The entrance to the farmers market at The Las Vegas Farm.
Photo by Osie Turner

“There are no regulations on what can be labelled ‘local’,” explains Sharon of The Las Vegas Farm. “The bees might be kept in another state but the honey is sold here or the honey is bought in bulk and put into jars here with a local sticker on it.”

If you are only looking for the honey for cooking or for the other benefits of natural hone, then the location of the bees isn’t as much of a concern, but for allergies the bees must be eating the flowers of plants as close to where you live as possible in order to help your immunity to them. If the bees are elsewhere, then their honey will have different types of pollen in it.

Sharon also warned that putting the honey in tea will kill the enzymes. For the best results for allergies, it is best to just eat the honey plain. One teaspoon a day for children or smaller sized adults, and one or two tablespoons a day for larger people is the approximate amount you need for health benefits.

One thing that stands out about natural honey is that the color varies jar to jar. In nature, things are not as uniform as we are accustomed to as different hives may eat different varieties of flowers which bloom at different times. With no added sugar, the honey is not as sweet but more flavorful. Raw honey is much thicker too, with a texture similar molasses. Although the color varies, the taste should not.

A rooster and chicken roaming the farmers market. Peacocks, cats,
and pot bellied pigs are also known to make appearances.
Photo by Osie Turner

An interesting aside, the ancient Norse fermented honey into a type of beer that may have worked as an antibacterial aid. Honey has been utilized for wound care since the time of the ancient Mesopotamians, in fact. Honey is naturally resistant to bacteria, so it certainly would work well for keeping a wound clean and keeping it from drying out. Honey is not sterile in the strict sense of the word, but it is pretty close for a natural substance.

The Las Vegas Farm is located at 7222 West Grand Teton Drive. Besides raw honey, their farmers market also offers fresh eggs from free roaming chickens and produce. All proceeds go towards the Farm Buddies Rescue. Honey: a reservoir for microorganisms and an inhibitory agent for microbes is a very interesting scientific read on the findings of a study on honey and wound management.

Author’s Note: I make no claim as to whether or not honey does or does not have any health benefits to it, but I will say I believe raw honey tastes better. My son’s pediatrician did recommend trying local honey to help with his allergies, which is what inspired this search for raw local honey. It has not been long enough to tell if it will help or not.

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