Marty Patrick's Jar of Honey

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – It’s a great product for sweetening tea or to use as a spread on biscuits, but did you know that raw, locally grown honey has great health benefits, especially for allergy sufferers?

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Marty Patrick, a bee keeper in Jasper County, operates “M-and-K Apiary.” In his care are several bee hives producing gallons of raw honey each year, when he then sells at a local Farmer’s Market. Patrick said there’s a big difference between the honey he collects from his bees, and the honey you buy at the national grocery store chains.

An article posted by the online publication called “Better Hens and Gardens,” is in agreement with Patrick. The publication’s website states that they aim to teach people how to live more self-sufficient, sustainable, lifestyles. Consuming locally grown food is one way to do so.

So what exactly is raw honey, and why do many claim that it’s better than what you’ll find on grocery store shelves?

Raw honey is honey that hasn’t been heated or pasteurized, and it contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants, and other important nutrients.

The Better Hens and Gardens publication stated that raw honey also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, and promotes digestive health.

Local, raw honey is known to be a powerful antioxidant and contains bee pollen and propolis, substances produced by bees that have been used medicinally by humans since ancient times.

Honey that’s locally harvested can be thought of in the same way we think of locally grown vegetables.

“We know that raw, unprocessed vegetables have higher nutritional value than their cooked counterparts, and honey is no different,” said Patrick.

For allergy suffers, raw, local honey also contains a blend of local pollen, which can strengthen a person’s immune system, and reduce pollen allergy symptoms. Many who suffer from season allergies swear by using local harvested honey as a remedy to reduce or even clear up those allergy symptoms all-together.

According to Better Hens and Gardens, when honey is removed from the hive, it needs to be strained to remove parts of bee bodies and pieces of wax. If a coarse strainer is used without heating, then the honey will contain the pollen that was present in the original honey from the local area. If this local honey is ingested regularly, it can reduce pollen allergy symptoms in humans.

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“A lot of people will swear by honey being beneficial to their allergies. And it’s because of the pollen content and the nectar that is retrieved from the different flowers and the different aspects that gives us our allergies, that there are only going to be in your local area,” said Patrick.

By supporting local honey producers, you can verify that the honey you’re purchasing is truly raw and has the beneficial properties that humans have used for centuries to treat many ailments.

“The flowers that we have in southwest Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma is going to be totally different than what’s in California or what’s in Colorado or Florida, so it’s going to cure the symptoms for people with a lot of allergies, and it’s been proven. Plus, it tastes a lot better!” stated Patrick.

In the U.S., the FDA states that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. But, no one’s checking U.S. honey to see if it contains pollen, which is why Patrick said it’s best just to buy local.