Spring is nice in theory, but the season of blooming flowers, warmer weather, and longer days is overshadowed by an omnipresent force that impacts the daily life of everyone who dares step outside-pollen. The powdery yellow plant product covers cars, stair rails, and will even settle in your beverage if you leave your cup out for too long. It congregates in puddles of water, giving nasty looks to all who pass by. For many centuries it was believed that there was no way to combat this dreadful nuisance (now may be a good time to clarify that we love plants, just not itchy eyes and throats), but the same creatures that spread pollen were then discovered to be potential heroes in saving us from our allergies. Bees and their honey-especially if it’s from a local hive-became the people’s method of getting through this chaotic season.
I had horrible pollen allergies as a kid. I still do, but my younger self irritated my eyes much more by itching them than older me cares to do. I absolutely loved baseball, which was unfortunately often played on very pollinated nights. The games would be a blast, but I would end many days with a wet wag over my closed eyes trying to get them to cool down. One day my wonderful mother informed me she had read in the fictional book “The Secret Life of Bees” about someone taking a spoonful of honey each day in the Spring to combat their allergies. I was at wits-end, and chose to take up her offer of this experimental procedure. It didn’t hurt that I happened to find honey delicious. While I can’t speak for the scientific truth behind this bold theory, I can tell you that I will forever be an advocate of local honey in the Springtime. Life got better, eyes got less itchy, and I went on to win MVP in all of baseball that year (well maybe not that last part, but would’ve been cool if it had happened). Here are a few great spots to help Birminghamians take on the pollen in 2022.
Foxhound Bee Company
Caption: Foxhound Bee Company has been creating quite the buzz in Birmingham and beyond. Image from Foxhound.
Foxhound Bee Company does many uniquely cool things involving bees in the Magic City, and selling honey is one of the tastiest aspects of their business. The company also helps beekeepers receive the education and supplies needed to have successful operations, and their website is full of informative wonders that will have even the most settled of readers contemplating if they should quit their regular 9 to 5 and start a beekeeping collective. But remember what you came for - the honey. Foxhound is about as Birmingham as it gets with their collection, with honey coming from Downtown, Avondale, Homewood, Bessemer, and Hoover. We’d highly recommend checking them out.
Pure Alabama Honey
Caption: If you’re getting honey to combat pollen, you need it pure and you need it from Alabama. Image from Pure Alabama Honey
If you’ve been a local honey enthusiast in the state for more than a year, you’ll surely recognize the iconic brand that is Pure Alabama Honey. The company was founded by Jimmy Carmack, who had a fascination for bees since he was a young child, and has created a legacy that includes nearly 80 bee colonies. The brand isn’t just big, it’s good! Their high-quality honey can be found in stores and farmers markets throughout the city. Years of being a Birmingham favorite doesn’t happen by accident-it happens when you have great honey.
Eastaboga Bee Company
Caption: Pollen doesn’t have a chance against beauties like this. Image from Eastaboga Bee Company
Just a short drive from the city in Lincoln, Alabama you can find wholesome tales and delicious honey at Eastaboga Bee Company. This community-focused farm is operated by the Elvin family, who has been working on the same land since the 1800's. Multiple generations later, Justin Elvin recognized the potential found in the bee business and the family hasn’t looked back since. They’ve been serving some of the finest local honey you could ever imagine and wonderful Birmingham businesses like Beehive Baking Company help them sell it to the good people of the Magic City.
While pollen might be a bit of a drag, it truly is a beautiful time of year to enjoy the sights that surround the city we call home. The trees are getting back full, and even drives down the interstate can turn into a showcase of Alabama’s natural glow. We’re thankful we can enjoy it even more with local honey having our back.
Cover photo from Pexels