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Tallahassee abuzz on honey

(Scott Keeler /Times)

You'll never bee-lieve the bill Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, is proposing.

The time has come, the senator says, for Florida to designate its very own state honey.

Set to receive the dubious distinction, assuming the rest of the Legislature agrees, is a variety of honey called tupelo, the production of which requires a tree unique to the northern part of this state and southern Georgia and Alabama. It's also central to the plot of the 1997 Peter Fonda flick "Ulee's Gold" and a Van Morrison song.

Seriously, this honey's a big deal.

It's also unusual among honeys for being diabetic-friendly.

"I think it's appropriate that the state of Florida recognizes a unique product for Florida," Montford said.

The bill (S.B. 556) got its first nod Tuesday in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.

Georgia and Alabama have not yet named state honeys, although Georgia has named the honeybee its state insect.

"If they hear we do," Montford said, "they probably will."

There may well be a political upside to the bill: North Florida beekeepers, many of whom are Montford's constituents, must be positively buzzing.