miscellaneous musings

The pie trip: one for the road

Apiforestation is bringing back local honey. Flickr photo by moonlightbulb/Selena N.B.H.

A number of years ago my daughter and I went on a pie trip. I had just read American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads by Pascale Le Draoulec, then I sent it to my daughter who also read it. At the same instant we knew what we would do.

It just so happened that she was getting ready to move from Louisiana to Washington, and I was going to fly out to meet her and help drive her car (and stuff) back here. I had always wanted to visit the southeast—not just fly over it—and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. We planned to take the long route home, visit the rural south, and eat pie at every opportunity.

It turned out to be one of the best trips of my life, even though it was totally cramped and highly caloric. Once all her stuff was packed in the car, along with sleeping bags, tent, and other camping gear, I had a little pocket of space in the front seat where I just barely fit if I didn’t move (or eat) too much. To save money we planned to camp every second night, so all the camping gear was a necessary inconvenience that allowed us to spend more days on the road.

We ate pie at virtually every meal. We each ordered different kinds and split them so we could sample as many as possible. Sometimes we ordered additional pieces “to go” and stuffed them in the glove box for later—or for breakfast the next morning. (Glove box pie is something you learn about in the book along with dumpster pie, which is self-explanatory.)

I had pieces of pie wedged in the cup holders, balanced atop my camera bag, secured in folds of the tent, and tucked under the seat. Chocolate pies, berry pies, cream pies, caramel pies, crumb pies, nut pies, and awful pies. You name it, we tried it. We’d sit in our sleeping bags on frosty mornings and tuck into the decadent slices, dissing a few, inhaling some, making notes.

The thought of a honey trip

I’d all but forgotten about this hedonistic trip until I started writing about honey varieties last year. Now I’ve got this recurring thought: I’ve got to take a honey trip. When I realized how site-specific so many honey varieties are, I began to think that driving around the country to collect them from their source would be the ideal trip. Not only could you collect honey, but you could talk to beekeepers, see the local flora, take photos, and get a true feel for the honey’s origin.

In decades gone by you would frequently see hand-lettered signs along the road advertising “Honey for Sale.” Many of these places had self-serve stands where you dropped your money in a tin can and selected your jar of honey. Some sold vegetables as well. Some sold eggs. Those tiny venders are not so common any more, but I’m sure I could find local honey if I put my mind to it and stayed on America’s back roads.

The honey trip is coalescing in the back of mind. What an ideal thing for a blogger to do: all that tasting, visiting, and writing dispatches “on location.” Hmm. Sounds like heaven. Anyone up for a trip?


A sign seen on the pie trip: local honey

Honey for Sale. Flickr photo by Selena N. B. H.


  • I don’t know if a honey trip is possible for us, but if you are in northwest Wisconsin let us know. I’ll run down to the end of the driveway, throw up a homemade sign (with a classic happy bee) and an honor-system tin can. Maybe a conversation would ensue. We will look forward to seeing you.

    P.S. Give us a little advanced notice. My wife says she will prepare some homemade biscuits to put on the honey. That was not a typo.

      • Yorkshire is the largest of England’s counties but still small compared to most American states. Still if in England, it’s certainly got a lot of beekeepers and the heather honey is fantastic. I’m hoping to send a hive or two for the heather honey in a few years when I have more experience!

        • Ian,

          I’ve never been to England, but I’m a huge fan of British mysteries, which I read voraciously, and many are set in Yorkshire. Also, I’ve heard a lot about heather honey, and it’s definitely on my “must try” list.

          I have relatives living in Cornwall who I only met once. Maybe sometime I will make it over there. Hmm . . . something to think about.

          • Cornwall is also a beautiful place, I’ve been there many times. Everything about Cornwall is good. The views, the beaches, the wildlife, the history, it goes on and on. If you do go to Cornwall then you have to visit the Eden project. It is awesome, think they also sell honey!

  • We still have the honor system stands out here in Montana. There’s a commercial beekeeper in Arlee, MT that offers his honey this way. And his honey is very inexpensive, $2 for a 12 oz bear!!

    We also have a number of honer system veggie stands. We stop by them as we drive from worksite to worksite in our various valleys and draws. It’s always amazed me that the pots don’t get raided. It’s also a nice warm feeling that we can still do business this way out here.

    So put Montana on your list of states to pass through. We’ll have some brew out for ya.

    Don John

  • I forgot to check the lotto ticket until today. (Sorry, I’m not a regular lottery guy.) Anyway, I won a free ticket. Until next week, our deal is still a deal.

  • I live in an area that is still fairly agricultural and we have folks that do this with their veggies: a table, an umbrella, a little sign and a basket with a rock to hold the bills down. And you make your own change.
    Even the larger fruit/veggie stand which can replace a trip to the store uses the honor system. I love it. I haven’t seen honey though, maybe I’ll try it.

    • Right now, I’m planning on April and May but that may change. I grew up in Pennsylvania . . . would love to see it again.

  • Did you ever go?! This was six years ago? Maybe I should just be patient and keep clicking the “next” arrow and see if you did……

  • Why in the spring? Best honey flow in western North Carolina is the Sourwood. You’ll find Sourwood honey at farmers markets in September.

  • I once took a “Hot Spring” trip…traveled 7-8 months, 18 States, 42,000+ miles, mostly in the West, Central U.S. Soaked my aching back/body in some gorgeous natural hot mineral water. Camped out all but two nights spent in motels, rained out in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Blown out in Tonapah, NV Duststorm couldn’t find campground !

    Ate some yummy huckleberry pie in the Northwest & many different types all over the USA. Many different types of honey from all over the USA. Met a little old man along a country in the NW who had honey ? of many different types from all over the world. Malalooka & Mangrove Honey from Florida. Some of my favorite is Buckwheat Honey from Kern Count, CA. So thick you have to chew it ! Heaven sent !

    See the USA away you can, in whatever you have to drive. Nothing like it…You’ll ? it.

  • Lots of honor system stands in the mid-Hudson Valley. Fruit, veggies, meat and honey. “Take the honey; leave the money “.

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