Monday, 23 March 2015

Tupelo Honey


Tupelo honey is made from nectar collected from the Tupelo tree.  The Tupelo tree which lent its name to Tupelo, Mississippi usually thrives in wet environments. Some of the species are native to eastern North America.

Tupelos of the Nyssa ogeche species are valued as honey plants in the southeastern United States, particularly in the Gulf Coast region. They produce a very light, mild-tasting honey. The Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle is the centre for tupelo honey. In a good harvest year, the tupelo honey crop produced by a group of specialised Florida beekeepers has a value approaching $1,000,000.


Characteristics of Tupelo Honey 

Flavor - mild, pleasant, very popular.
Density - good body, 16.0% - 18.0% moisture.
Freedom from crystals - White Tupelo Honey does not granulate.
Colour - light with a greenish cast.
Average Carbohydrate composition - Dextrose 25.95%, Fructose (Levulose) 43.27%, Sucrose 1.21%, Maltose 7.97%, Higher sugars 1.1%. High in Levulose, low in Dextrose.
Freedom from impurities.
Vitamins - thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, and nicotinic acid, all of which play vital roles in human nutrition.
Minerals - iron, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, and phosphorous. These elements are all essential to good nutrition.



Tupelo Honey can be identified by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services based on microscopic pollen counts. The distinctive shape of Tupelo Pollen makes this test possible. Tupelo Honey producers may acquire chemist analysis papers certifying their honey as Tupelo. 

Tupelo Honey like any other excellent speciality honey sells at a premium price. Because of its superb table quality, distinctive flavor, and non granulation it is very popular with bottlers. The demand for Tupelo Honey has expanded to a growing world market. Wewahitchka is the site of one of Florida's largest beekeeping operations, which was the setting for Ulee's Gold, a movie filmed in the area. This premium honey is produced by placing beehives, known by the beekeepers as "Bee Boxes", in the swamps along the Apalachicola and other area rivers. In some areas the bees are placed on platforms and rafts to keep them above potential floods. 


Tupelo honey is highly sought after and is considered to be a premium honey due to its purity and relative scarcity. Pure Tupelo honey is only produced in the Southeastern United States, in the Apalachicola River basin, the Chipola River (a tributary of the Apalachicola) and the  The Ochlocknee and Choctahatchee Rivers in Northwest Florida and Southern Georgia.  These areas are the only places in the world where certified Tupelo honey is produced.  As it is the only place where the white tupelo tree, Nyssa Ogeche, that produces pure Tupelo honey, grows in any abundance.

Van and Tupelo Honey 


Tupelo Honey was released in October, 1971 by Warner Bros. Records. Morrison had written all of the songs on the album in Woodstock, New York, before his move to Marin County, California, except for You're My Woman, which he wrote during the recording sessions.  The album features various musical genres, most prominently country, but also R&B, soul, folk-rock and blue-eyed soul. The lyrics echo the domestic bliss portrayed on the album cover; they largely describe and celebrate the rural surroundings of Woodstock and Morrison's family life with then-wife Janet "Planet" Rigsbee.

Tupelo Honey received most in America where it charted at number 27 on the Billboard charts and in 1977 it was certified gold by the RIAA. Wild Night, Tupelo Honey and (Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball were the three singles were released off the album.  The title song, Tupelo Honey, is a classic love ballad that didn’t receive the exposure it should have for a long time.  A duet of the song featuring Van and Brian Kennedy appears on the 1994 live album A Night in San Francisco. Another great duet of the song with Bobby Bland is one of the tracks on the 2007 compilation album The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3



In 2007, the original version of Tupelo Honey was remastered and included as one of the hits on Morrison's compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits. Van has also released two filmed performances of the song: Tupelo Honey as performed in concert in 1979 was one of the songs on Morrison's first video Van Morrison in Ireland that was released In 1981. A live performance from Morrison's 1980 appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival is featured on the 2006 DVD Live At Montreux 1980/1974Tupelo Honey remains one of Van’s most popular songs.  

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