Tupelo News Update 2019

May 22, 2019

It’s tupelo time again and what a year it has been. I have put off writing a news letter because I knew I would have to write about Hurricane Michael. Let me tell everyone about the tupelo crop first. We made some honey but very little. Not even a sixteenth of a crop. It was no surprise. The tupelo trees were damaged very badly by the hurricane. It literally beat them for 4 hours along with all the other trees and vegetation. It looked like a bomb went off. This made the tupelo trees start blooming in December, and they continued to bloom through May. The tupelo tree is not known for blooming more than once every 365 days. So, when the honey flow arrived there was very little nectar for the bees to gather. The trees suffered intense stress just as we did. What little honey we did gather is very good quality. It’s hard to tell the difference between the 2018 and the 2019 crop. And you all know the 2018 was some of the best in years.

        The bees suffered also. We lost a lot of hives due to the hurricane, and then they had no food source after the storm because every piece of vegetation was stripped bare. The bees are coming back but it’s slow.

        Everyone has been asking me to tell them about the hurricane. I have really not had the strength to talk about it. Everyone here is having a really hard time coping or adjusting to the situation. It’s hard to explain to anyone who has not been through something like this. I have lived through a lot of hurricanes but never anything like this. I tell everyone that some days it’s one day at a time and some days it’s one minute at a time. Friends will call and say I’m having such a bad day or I’m so depressed, and I have to remind them that they are not alone that we all have those days and to just take it one minute at a time. We all get over whelmed with all the destruction around us. We just have to find a way to cope and move forward because it will be better one day. We have worked seven days a week since the storm cleaning up and trying to put our house back together. I see several more years of cleanup just for us. There are so many people still homeless, living in tents, and molded homes. Many people packed up and left after the storm and may never return. We will be years without housing and jobs. There are not enough workers to go around and fix all this destruction. I had friends that had their homes come apart around them during the hurricane. These homes were inland not on the coast, so if you think your safe inland from a monster like this; you would be wrong! One of our friends was holding on to the rafters in his ceiling to keep his head above water. I told so many of our neighbors before the storm to get out. They had never been through a hurricane and didn’t know if they should leave. Thank goodness they listened. The hurricane tore-up a five-county area like it was all sitting on the Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico Beach, Beacon Hill, St. Joe Beach, Port St. Joe, and Panama City I have no words. When you drive down highway 98 you just want to cry.   So many lives turned upside down, but one thing I know for sure. This is the Panhandle of Florida and people here are strong and know how to stand on their own two feet, so we will be back better than ever. We are not going to let this defeat us.

        People want to know how they can help. Support the businesses in the hurricane zone. If they sell online and you need something they have; buy it from them. If you come this way stop and shop at any of our businesses. So many of us depend on tourism here, and now we have no place for them to stay.

        Going back to the honey, I want to remind everyone about getting what you pay for. We see so much honey out there labeled tupelo and it is not! It seems Florida has changed the rules again, and now you can label anything tupelo as long as it’s the primary floral source. They had it at 51% and now reduced it to this. If it’s not 90% or better, it’s not tupelo. The public is paying a premium price for $2.00 a pound honey. There is very little real tupelo honey produced each year. Tupelo is a specialty honey and cannot be mass produced. That’s the way its always been and always will be. One of the gentlemen who tests the honey for tupelo purity buys our honey because it test higher in tupelo than any other honey out there. We try to produce quality not quantity.   No one wants to pay for grouper and get catfish, so why would they think the public would want to pay for tupelo and get something else.

        The honey is great this year, so get your jar and enjoy real tupelo honey.

                                                                Glynnis Lanier
                                                                    May 2019