As odd enough as this sounds, I spent my Saturday morning driving to the DMZ for local honey. Perhaps I should digress?
While Skyping with my grandparents one weekend morning we got on the topic of seasonal allergies. My grandpa specifically minds certain points during the Spring season and sought relief outside of the typical Claritin or other over the counter drug on the market. He found out that his gut wasn’t happy. Ha Ha! What does that mean? Well it means that he wasn’t getting the right kinds of bacterial into his stomach to fight off the bad ones. So the journey began….how does one make their gut happy he asked? I’m sure thinking of all the sugary goodness he treated it with. Surly those treats have to be making his gut happy, because he felt happy while savoring them in the evenings. Wrong…he found out that he needed to get some probiotic and live culture in his diet. The easiest form being yogurt. Next he needed to take bee pollen pills daily as well as find local honey. I know what you might be thinking and no local honey is not the mass-produced stuff that comes from the cute little bear on the shelf in your supermarket. Luckily my grandfather has found relief with his regiment.
While out to lunch one afternoon with some girlfriends we got on the topic of allergies and local honey. My friend stated that she suffered from allergies since moving to Korea but was able to find local honey. She asked if I wanted her to pick some up when she went on her next trip, I eagerly said yes! Best decision ever! I’ve used the honey in my tea, Greek yogurt and oatmeal. It’s sooo delicious and flavorful.
Fast forward to the week before Kelsey came to stay. While texting one evening she told me that she was suffering from allergies and it was driving her nuts. So of course the conversation about local honey occurred again. Kelsey stated she was absolutely willing to give it a go!
Saturday morning I picked Kelsey up from our local train station, she hopped into the car and I asked if she wanted to venture out to find the local honey? Kelsey stated eagerly yes! Isn’t it so gratifying to find a kindred spirit? With brief directions on my phone from my friend, we headed North on highway 3 towards the DMZ, North Korea. We drove for about 50 minutes one way passing more farms and brown fields than people. Even with the haze and gray sky, Kelsey stated that she enjoyed a different perspective of Korea and the feeling of being able to breath and not feel so crammed with people.
Eventually we made our way to the end of highway 3. Directly in front of us, two guards stood armed with rifles not allowing anyone to proceed North anymore on highway 3. The option was to turn left or right. We turned left then took the first right leading us to the Battle for White Horse Mountain memorial. We parked in the large parking lot and proceeded into the only building on the property that resembled a store. Once inside an older Korean woman greeted us and two South Korean soldiers were sitting at the table with three children chatting and eating. The back wall was covered in jars and bottles of honey and two small shelves with various local items. You could tell they were slightly intrigued that two American women were visiting and discussing the wall of honey.
I asked one of the soldiers if he could tell what the differences were in honey. The soldier so kindly offered us to taste the honey while explaining the differences. The dark-colored honey was from chestnuts and had a slightly bitter taste, the medium colored honey came from various local flowers and the clear colored honey came from a flower called pronounced “Akasha” here in Korea. I haven’t done any research yet to see what the comparable flower would be in the US.