Call it honey or syrup, palm honey is still the most sought-after object of desire on the island.
Its production, limited by law, is consumed and sold almost 100% within La Gomera. Local modern cuisine uses it widely as an ingredient for sweet and savoury dishes. The traditional gomeran cuisine also made it indispensable in almost any local recipe.
The history of palm honey goes back to Aboriginal times. A sustainable crop, each tapped ("guarapeada") palm tree is worked on a daily basis, tirelessly, for a maximum of 6 months. It will then rest for 5 years, time which the plant needs to fully recover before the next harvest. During the harvest season the farmer will climb the palm tree, clean the'crown' of leaves and use a cannula to allow the sage to fall down to a bucket on top of the palm tree all night long. Each sunrise he will climb up again to cover the area to prevent the sun damage and also the birds from taking advantage of the exposure of the trunk wound. Again, each sunset, he will open it anew for another night of harvesting.
The Canary Island Palm Tree (Phoenix Canariensis) is a protected endemic species, so the exploitation for the extraction of honey is limited by law to a specific number of palms per year. For this reason, honey has become a highly appreciated but also scarce commodity. The value of a single palm tree was such that, even today, ownership of the palm tree is transferred to the estates on an individual basis, regardless of the arable land that was distributed. Thus, a person could inherit a palm tree in the middle of another family member's land, and was guaranteed access and exclusivity on its harvesting season.