Here at The Kitchn, we're passionate about local honey and love being part of the chain that connects a region's flowers, bees, beekeepers, and consumers. (Joanna highlighted one of these regional producers, Chicago Honey Co-op, earlier this week.) Local honey can often be found at farmers' markets and other specialty shops. We've also posted about an online Honey Locator that lets users search by state and type. But for people without access to local varieties, a worthy alternative is hitting US shelves for the first time this month: Fair Trade Certified honey.
According to TransFair USA, only about 30 percent of the honey consumed annually in the US is produced domestically. The rest is imported from developing nations throughout Asia and Latin America. In many cases, middlemen take advantage of rural beekeepers and deny them a fair price for their product.
Although Fair Trade Certified honey has been available in Europe for some time, it was just introduced to the US market this month. Wholesome Sweeteners, a Texas-based company, has released two honeys produced by Mayan beekeepers in the jungles of Chiapas and Quintana Roo, Mexico. The company pays the worker-run cooperative directly, bypassing middlemen and encouraging traditional and sustainable beekeeping practices that protect the hives and native plants.
Stores that carry Wholesome Sweeteners products include Amazon.com, Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Target, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. Check out the company's website to learn more about the honey, the hives (there's even a video), and additional retailers.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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