Bees provide sweet remedy

Published 5:21 pm Monday, April 6, 2009

The drizzle of honey you add to your tea at night could do more than delight your tastebuds.

Nell and R.T. Shortnacy of Wilsonville consume it on a daily basis. They also produce it.

“We’ve heard all our life that you can eat a bit of honey and get rid of your allergies,” Nell said. “We’ve had a lot of customers that take honey every day, and do so for just that reason.”

Many health store owners, such as Mary Ann Metzler of the Mill House in Alabaster, often encourage customers with allergies to purchase a jar of locally produced honey. Metzler sells honey made in Montevallo by beekeeper Mike Pickett.

Pickett is a fourth-generation beekeeper. His family began raising bees and producing honey for their neighbors decades ago. Last year he sold about 100 gallons.

“I eat it every day in some form and I really think it does help,” Pickett said. “I’ve always read that you need to eat honey produced no more than 100 miles away from you.”

Metzler said between 50-60 miles works best. She said the idea is that when you consume the honey your immune system builds up a tolerance to the pollen the bees used to make it. When you come in contact with plants in your area, you then won’t have as severe a reaction.

Pickett said the season is perfect to grab a jar.

“Right now is their peak time for raising young bees, so they are really producing,” Pickett said. “You can actually watch them take the nectar into the hive on their back legs.”

Honey produced by Pickett and the Shortnacy’s can be found at the Mill House. For more information, call 664-7434.