Tupelo honey is a true local wonder. In fact, it was brought into the spotlight in the 1997 Peter Fonda movie “Ulee’s Gold,” a story about a Wewahitchka beekeeper and his family.
It is here that beekeepers gather the only pure tupelo honey earth harvested from the White Tupelo Gum tree reaching 50 to 75 feet in height and often standing in several feet of water in Apalachicola River basin. The Tupelo tree blossom starts out as a round bud, about the size of a small pea. It then swells into what looks like a miniature cauliflower. Finally, it explodes with dozens of little spikes. The nectar is at the base of each spike.
What makes Tupelo Honey unique is the floral scent – a hint of rose, some herby, earthy taste, pure sweetness and not a hint of bitterness. Doesn’t that sound good with a morning cup of coffee overlooking the beach?
Wewahitchka, located about 20 minutes north of Port St Joe, is home to many apiaries where you are allowed to taste samples and purchase from over a dozen varieties of raw honey. Stop in and take a tour of one of the apiaries, Smiley Honey. In Gulf County, local honey is also available in area stores and it can be sampled at the Gulf County Welcome Center.
The annual Wewahitchka Tupelo Honey Festival takes place on the 3rdSaturday in May and celebrates the honey harvesting season with plenty of honey, including jars as small as 2 ounces to gallon jugs and everything in between – including ice-cold honey lemonade!