Oh Honey!

I love honey.  It’s one of my favorite natural sweeteners, and it’s just naturally gorgeous, too. One of my favorite pics that I’ve ever snapped is of a honeycomb and a pool of honey on a cutting board in Michigan.


Seriously, y’all. How could you not fall in love with something so gorgeous, and tasty?

In recent years honey has been coming off of the pantry shelf and into the spotlight. Honey was even named Flavor of The Year for 2015 by Firmench!  Bakers, Chefs, and Home Cooks are all coming to realize that honey provides balance to any dish complementing and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory.  Honey attracts and holds moisture, enhancing freshness and shelf life; and as if that weren’t enough, honey is an emulsifier: which makes it the perfect ingredient to thicken and add body to sauces and dressings.

Honey glistening in the sun: The Story of Honey | A Southern Fairytale

I was recently invited by the National Honey Board to go on a trip with them to learn all about The Story of Honey; and I have to tell you, I was absolutely blown away by the sights, smells, tastes, and what I learned.

Bee hives (colonies) are set out in the fields so that the bees can gather nectar (not pollen) nectar from the flowers and make the honey.

the honeybees at the apiary  

I really thought that I would be a bit scared being surrounded by that many bees, but their buzzing was rather soothing, and they were very docile.  It was humbling, and awe-inspiring to see them at work, so focused and task oriented; all serving the same common purpose. 

Fun Fact: In addition to gathering nectar to produce honey, honey bees perform a vital second function – pollination. About one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.

honeybees on the hive

 Watch the video! It’s so cool!!!


Up close and personal #StoryOfHoney #spon

A video posted by Rachel Matthews (@sthrnfairytale) on

and yes, I wore one of those awesomely sexy and alluring (completely protective) upper body garbs and netted helmet/facemask


Ready to tour the apiary #StoryOfHoney #spon A photo posted by Rachel Matthews (@sthrnfairytale) on

Fun fact:  There are over 300 different varietals of honey!  You can find your local honey by using the honey locator on the Honey Board website. 

When you take bloggers to an apiary….

say bees.   bloggers and bees

all those black dots… those are bees

bloggers and bees

After the fascinating tour of the apiary, we were treated to an incredible lunch featuring recipes from the National Honey Board and the darling Marie Simmons, author of the Taste of Honey cookbook, and a bee keeper herself!

The lunch was delicious, but two things really stood out for me – The Goat Cheese Spread with Lemon and Honey, I could eat it with a spoon, and this gorgeous Honey Hibiscus Orange Punch, y’all… wowza, it was incredible.

honey hibiscus orange punch

The tour and lunch was followed by a drive that blew this Texas girl’s mind.  We were in 3 states in 2 days and a mere matter of hours.  Do y’all know how long it takes to drive through Texas?  I can drive 8 hours and still be in Texas!!  There was a lot of laughter and silliness on the bus, and friendships were made and solidified. 

We had an incredible cheese and honey pairing at dinner and I had some dark chocolate paired with buckwheat honey that blew my mind, y’all. 

dark chocolate with buckwheat honey


You can watch the mad drizzle skills of The Wicked Noodle in the Instagram video below. 

  The next day we went to the Sue Bee Honey factory and got to see what happens to the honey after it’s harvested and sent to them by their many farmers, and it’s pretty impressive, amazing, mesmerizing. honey bears aren’t those bears just the cutest!!   I don’t know what I thought about the honey I get at the store, but I didn’t realize just how un-processed it really is. They gently warm the honey so that it’s easy to work with, then it’s filtered twice to remove anything that might be  left in it from the hive; like bee parts, wood particles from the frames and any other little things that might have gotten into it during the scraping process at the apiary.  It was pretty neat, and the smell, y’all.  Oh my word.  The smell of all that warm honey; it’s pretty incredible, and really soothing.   I had to take a video of the bottle filling process, because y’all 😉    


Oh honey!!!! #StoryOfHoney #partner #yum A video posted by Rachel Matthews (@sthrnfairytale) on


Fun Fact:  Honey is best stored at room temperature in an airtight container.  Honey never goes bad let me repeat that Honey. Never. Goes. Bad.  How cool is that!?! Honey will slowly crystalize over time, but all you need do is gently warm it until the crystals melt back in, and it’s all good!

Here’s some honey usage and storage tips from the National Honey Board.

I had such an incredible trip – met some amazing people, and learned SO SO MUCH!  I know this post is picture heavy, but this trip was so fun and the locations so gorgeous, and I just wanted to share all the things with y’all! All of them!!!!

You can read more about this trip from the other bloggers who were on the trip with me:

Check out some of my past recipes featuring honey!

**All photos and video were taken with my iPhone6 and my Canon 6D with the 40mm Pancake Lens** h/t Jill from Baby Rabies for the recommendations on the camera body and lens!

My trip was sponsored by The National Honey Board and The Motherhood and I have received compensation for my participation.  The thoughts and opinions are of course, completely my own. Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, and if you click those links and purchase anything, I will receive an affiliate pay which helps me to pay for the upkeep of A Southern Fairytale.  I am thankful for partners like The National Honey Board who help support A Southern Fairytale and help me to continue to share my love of cooking, photography, and storytelling with y’all.  Please keep supporting them and clicking on their links to show them that their investment in A Southern Fairytale is a good one. 


Thank you @nationalhoneyboard it’s been delicious and memorable #StoryOfHoney #client

A photo posted by Rachel Matthews (@sthrnfairytale) on

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  1. Wow! I am both intrigued by seeing a colony up close and a little scared. It looks like a really amazing experience. I do love honey, too!
    Super cool!

  2. Honey is always great, healthy and tasty. But, you have to try also BGreekHoney Thyme variety. It is considered, as one of the best honey to exist. It is an Artisanal Raw Premium Honey from the high hills of Greece. It is amazing. There also BGreekHoney different varieties to taste. Amazing Honey.

    Love the post. Very interesting. People need to know what they put in their mouth.

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