Thursday, August 05, 2010

She's As Sweet As Tupelo Honey


This sign, painted on the back of a "Vote for me" political campaign sign, caught my eye as I passed through the St. Marks River area of northwest FL a few weeks ago.

I'm not a big honey user, but you know how some foods have strong nostalgia powers?
Tupelo honey has that affect on me.

Seeing that sign, I could instantly hear my Dad telling me as a kid, " Now, Tupelo honey is the very best honey there is."

So, when that sign popped up, I followed it to find a teenager with a great southern drawl sitting in his pickup truck at the junction of two roads.
The back of the truck was filled with Tupelo honey jars of different sizes. I grabbed a $5 jar from him and hit the road again.

You can google Tupelo for all the details, but in a nutshell, Tupelo trees like their feet wet and grow along river floodplains throughout the south. The Apalachicola region I was passing through is Florida's center for Tupelo honey production and hives are actually floated along the water to ensure true Tupelo blossom exposure for the honey bees.

It's a great carving wood too and I have a block of it out in the barn awaiting me to get inspired.
It's been waiting awhile.





Like I said, I am not a huge honey user, but biscuits and honey are one of life's sweet pleasures. It is my favorite use of honey.
That may be partly due to nostalgia too. When I was a kid, there was a restaurant called the "Chicken Shack" in Jacksonville, Florida that served amazing fried chicken, bowls of good veggies, and biscuits and honey.
They even brought out finger bowls with lemons and a cloth for cleaning up after all that munching of fried chicken.

It was like heaven for little FC.

I can't help but think of that place every time I have biscuits and honey.


Biscuits rise higher if you let them touch each other while they bake.
That's science.
Conduction, baby.


Sweet goodness.
Sweet memories.

23 comments:

Sayre said...

We used to have a guy near there who had honey for sale on the honor system. The honey would be on shelves on the side of a shed in his yard, along with a collection box. You just picked your honey and put the money in the box. I think that guy died a couple of years ago (FLCracker Crumbs can verify), but I always thought it was so neat that someone still operated on the honor system.

threecollie said...

Ooh, we love honey! One of our area honey places harvested over nine tons last week!

threecollie said...

Not tupelo though

Anonymous said...

Hey..you didn't mention my man Van Morrison! The two go together like well...Biscuits and honey!
Lightnin

Nancy Ortiz said...

Got some Tupelo honey on the kitchen shelf. Have it every morning with my cheerios--whole grain is good for you, y'all! I buy mine at the farmers' market imported all the way from Hosford FL--about $6.00 a lb. Good stuff. No matter what you put it on, it's good stuff. Nancy Ortiz

The Florida Blogger said...

My dad would always take a biscuit and lather it in butter before coating it in honey. It might clog your arteries, but it sure is good.

CrackerNation said...

I grew up on Cal's Tupelo Honey out of Havana, FL. The brand is still around, but not from Havana.

Miz S said...

Tupelo honey brings back good memories for me, too. The song, not the actual honey. But after reading this post I want summa da real stuff, on fluffy white biscuits. Mmmm.

edifice rex said...

Ooooh, I love me some biscuits and honey!! Yum! one of my favorites from childhood too.
And I let my biscuits touch each other too. Hhmm, somehow that sounds kinda dirty. heh!

Sandcastle Momma said...

My husband's grandfather used to dip fried mullet in honey and tupelo was the only kind he'd eat. I personally don't care for honey on mullet but I love it on biscuits!

Buford Nature said...

Apiary friends tell me that tupelo honey is the only one that will not turn to sugar if left unused for too long. I am currently in the NC mountains and hope to load up on sourwood honey before returning to FL.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I've recently discovered that honey is a great "chocolate syrup" substitute for ice cream, plus cool whip.

who wouda thunk it?? said...

I would only eat red clover honey til I got a whif of Tupelo honey. I have a jar in the pantry that I got at the fair two years ago (still clear as glass (well, brown glass!)

who wouda thunk it?? said...

SAYRE:
the "honor" honey store is still there, on Rt 60 near Lake Wales. you drop your money in a big plywood box in the middle of the floor!

Floridacracker said...

Sayre,
Last year on SR 100, between Bunnel and Palatka, I passed an honor system honey stand too!


3C,
9 tons!
Wow! That seems incredible.



Lightnin,
Van who?


Nancy,
Hosford? You've given me a new Florida place to look up?


FLblogger,
Sounds goodly bad for ya!



Cnation,
I haven't been to Havana in a long time. Shoulda scooted north a little when in Tally.


Miz S,
I confess, I had never heard of the song before this post.




Annie,
Sometimes it just can't be helped. LOL!


SandMomma,
I don't think I'd want honey on my mullet either!



Buford,
Enjoy those Norcalina mountains. I hope it's cooler up there.


Robert,
WHY would you substitute ANYTHING for chocolate? LOL
Chocoholic here.


Whowoulda,
Sounds like the honey honor system is still functioning out there. It does smell really good doesn't it?

Caroline said...

I grew up in appleblossom honey country in the Champlain Valley of NY, but it sounds like I should be looking for some tupelo honey! None in SD, I am guessing, but I'll have to rustle up some online. :o)

robin andrea said...

The only Tupelo Honey I know is the sweet song that Van Morrison sang. Never had a chance to taste the real thing. Biscuits and honey sound like one of those great comfort foods. Yum.

S N B said...

Hosford is pitcher plant heaven, FC.

Ericka said...

i've never had (or heard of) tupelo honey. is it sweeter than normal honey? my mom serves cornbread with butter and honey - SO SO yummy!

the blueberry fields where i go to pick my own are honor system - they have a shed with a scale and a box.

Anonymous said...

The teenager is Clyde Owens grandson and he sells for his family on the weekends. Brother Clyde went home to be with the Lord about two years ago and was one of the best Baptist Pastors in North Florida for over 45 years. Brother Owens long time friend Brother Bozeman also sells honey for the family near Newport and he always has a smile for evry one who stops by.

Matt said...

You can buy tupelo honey from the owen family at www.tupelohoney3.com info about tupelo honey ,clyde owen and section on Preston bozeman.

Katie Langston said...

I AM THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF ALTON LANGSTON, WHO OWNED CALS TUPELO HONEY IN HAVANA FLORIDA....WHEN HE PASSED AWAY, HIS SON, DAVID, MOVED TO CALVARY AND OWNED CALS TUPELO HONEY BUT I HAVE HEARD THAT UNCLE DAVID SOLD IT SINCE THEN...NOT SURE
I AM SURE THAT IN SMITH CREEK THERE ARE THESAME FAMILIES LIKE THE KYLES, BROWNS, ETC...THAT STILL SELL THE SAME HONEY AS MY GRANDDADDY DID.

Zillah Rulze said...

Katie- My grandmother Ruby Ferrell lived on E.10th ave in Havana right by the Cal's Building. I was fascinated by that place as a child. I loved the facade with the painted logo and how it was flanked by 2 palm trees in front. We ate a lot of your Dad's honey growing up, and I still think it is the best. I continued to visit Grandmother when I moved back to Tally as an adult and the building still stood. I remember stopping and getting some honey in a little office in back. It seemed to go totally defunct by about 2006 or thereabouts with no visible operation or activity. I really love that place, it is such a part of my childhood. I do remember coming to visit when I lived in New York in the late 90s and early 200s and I would go to some of the Publix locations that carried Cal's and stock up!