Whether you’re looking for something sweet to swirl into your tea, in need of a natural alternative to antihistamines or celebrating the Jewish New Year, there’s a lot to love about local honey. Rivers of the stuff flow down from the Catskills, the Finger Lakes and beyond, and—after the 1999 beekeeping ban in New York City was lifted in 2010—hives abound in all five boroughs, too. But why buy local? For starters, the conventional grocery-store stuff goes through a heat and filtration process that strips it of beneficial nutrients, enzymes and much of its flavor. Conversely, most local honey is raw: minimally filtered, unheated and unprocessed. And while the concrete jungle of New York City isn’t the friendliest place for agribusiness, Gotham does boast numerous flowering trees and lush parks, treated with fewer pesticides than in rural areas. It all adds up to a surprisingly welcoming environment for honeybees that, in kind, help maintain the health of the city’s ecosystem and provide us with a sweet reward. Here’s a sugary sampling of the best local honeys, from made-in-NYC paragons to syrups that originate (slightly) farther afield.
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