Sourwood honey is the crème de la crème of honey produced in Western North Carolina. Its flavor is rich and light, and many honey enthusiasts consider it the best variety of honey available. This premium honey also commands a premium price; while other honeys can cost as little as $4/lb, sourwood honey can sell for up to $15/lb.
Some dishonest vendors in WNC Farmers Markets have taken advantage of the demand for this commodity honey by falsely labeling honey as sourwood in order to inflate profits. When local beekeepers and honey lovers became suspicious, laboratory tests on random samples of honey from WNC Farmers Markets labeled as "sourwood" revealed many "funny honeys" that had little to no sourwood pollen whatsoever.
Local beekeepers achieved a victory against fraudulent vendors recently when the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services implemented new rules to prevent future mislabeling of honey at its five N.C. farmers markets, including the WNC Farmers Market in Asheville. As of June 1st, beekeepers and vendors at state farmers markets are required to keep records on the origin and production date of their honey. If they are unable to do so, or are caught falsely labeling honey, they can be banned from selling at these farmers markets in the future.
For more information, read the Asheville Citizen Times article here.