South Bend, Ind. South Bend’s very own “Honey from the Hood” is getting some area attention after winning first place in a tasting contest by the Michiana Beekeepers Association.
The winning entry was the summer blend from the LaSalle Square Unity Gardens hive, which beat out 24 other entries in a blind taste test.
The honey also had another special distinction.
“This is the only honey that we know of that is actually from a hive inside the city limits of South Bend,” said Mitch Yaciw, manager at Unity Gardens.
Tim Ives, Apiary Director for Peace Bees and Unity Gardens, had no idea the summer blend would do so well.
“I was surprised,” Ives said, “I sort of thought the blueberry blossom would win but I knew this was a different tasting honey - it was a light tasting honey.”
That special taste is thanks to the diversity of pollinated plants within the city, compared to the relatively homogenous landscape out in the farmland. Unity Gardens Executive Director Sara Stewart said the key is in the “flavors” that the bees have access to.
“When you go to get honey, you can get blueberry honey that's blue, and well, that's because somebody put blueberry flavoring in it,” Stewart said. “Our blueberry honey is actually blue because the bees pollinated blueberry bushes.”
The “Honey from the Hood” products are new to Unity Gardens since organization began offering beekeeping classes in early 2012. The beekeeping movement in the area took off from there, and today the bee populations have increased by more than 400 percent, according to the folks at Unity Gardens.
The winning honey and a handful of other varieties can be bought at the Purple Porch Co-op Wednesday nights from 5 - 7p.m. or at any of the Unity Gardens fundraisers.
The team also plans on taking the winning honey down to the Indiana State Beekeeper Association tasting at the end of this month.