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Taste of Honey event set for USF Botanical Gardens

More than Pooh-like cravings are drawing people to the University of South Florida's annual Taste of Honey event.

The tasting, now in its seventh year, will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Botanical Gardens. Tickets are $20 each.

The taste will feature more than 100 exotic and unusual honeys from around the world, and some extracted by USF students.

"Each honey has its own flavor, sometimes subtle, sometimes profound," said Kim Hutton, special events coordinator for the Botanical Gardens. "It is great fun, almost an adventure in flavor. In the end, everyone finds their favorite."

The event serves as an extension of the organization's beekeeping classes, which started in 2007 and have grown so popular the Botanical Gardens has to maintain a waiting list. Gardens director Laurie Walker estimates the West Central Florida area has more non-commercial beehives than any part of the state because of the classes.

Taste of Honey also recognizes the plight of honey bees, who have begun to disappear at a rising rate because of what scientists now call colony collapse disorder. The event raises awareness of the issue and proceeds from the event help support the gardens' apiary and its programs.

"We want to help educate homeowners about how to garden sustainably and that includes less/no pesticides which can harm the valuable pollinators, including honey bees," Walker said. "No bees —no food."

But there will be honey-based foods at the event. Visitors can sample the foods and honey while listening to relaxing live jazz.

No word on if they plan to play Flight of the Bumblebee.

Times staff writer Ernest Hooper