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Where to find it: Locally made urban honey 

Honeybees are in trouble. A recent online petition from Slow Foods to Steven P. Bradbury, Director of the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, urges that office to investigate whether pesticides are contributing to or are an underlying cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD).

In addition to signing the petition, though, another way — a local way — to help the honeybee population is to consume local honey. Demand drives quantity: more hives, more bees. Besides, local honey tastes better. With the exception of light buttery tupelo honey (produced in the Florida panhandle and south Georgia), the honeys from this area are polyfloral (wildflowers and trees), producing a sweet taste with a complex floral flavor.

Additionally, a popular folk remedy suggests consuming local honey will lessen the impact of allergies. Some argue since honeybees collect pollen from area flowers, that pollen will be in the honey, and thus eating local honey on a regular basis will build up immunity to local pollens.

But the primary reason to eat locally produced honey is to support area farmers, as honeybees are essential to agriculture. Even in downtown Charlotte, honeybees are busy. Cloister Honey of Charlotte installed hives in the Johnson & Wales University urban garden. The Coop, a student club, is responsible for overseeing the garden and sells this locally-made honey for $9 (1 lb) at The Village Bookstore, 800 W. Trade St. Funds raised help sustain the garden.

Also downtown are the 80,000 honeybees that are part of the green-roof program at Ritz-Carlton. This honey is not for sale to the public, but it is used in the Ritz-Carlton kitchens.

Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: or 704-522-8334, extension 136.

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