Honey with a Address: Our Honey and What’s in It.
Recently, I read this article from Modern Farmer (modfarm) about the myriad “types” of specialty honey found in far fetched locations around the globe. I love this type of stuff because it shows just how long humans and bees have been working together. It was also interesting because folks who eat Good Sense Farm honey often ask me, “What type of honey is this?” Some more savvy foodies ask, “What are the bees feeding on?”
This question’s a tricky one, especially coming from people who are eating my honey. I have to strike a delicate balance between educator and small farmer who wants people to like what I grow.
Being somewhat of an awkward bee nerd, I usually say, “The bees eat whatever they want that’s around and abundant.” This usually leads to more questions like, “Well, what? Like clover?”
I understand what they are getting at. They want to know that the honey they are eating is truly special, unlike anything they could by at the grocery store but still familiar, still honey. That’s a tall order for a small farmer but I’m used to it. There’s a reason people ask about clover honey and other varietals. It’s everywhere and is often synonymous with good honey. The clover honey industry has really put a lot of energy into having folks associate clover honey with good honey.
Folks like me, who carefully select their bee yards to ensure that our bees aren’t just feeding on one type of nectar, we’ll have a hard time changing the image of wildflower or mixed variety honey unless we educate our customers. So here goes:
Bees produce honey for themselves, not for us. They need a varied diets just like humans do. For their health, I locate Good Sense Farm hives where there are lots of plants and trees available over the entire season. I work with farmers I trust and who’s growing practices I understand. Sometimes they certify their farms to make it more clear to our customers that they are trustworthy but I always check them out myself. I don’t move my hives to follow a single crop, like almonds or clover. If you’re eating local honey because you want to support farmers who are helping combat the current issues with bee dye-outs, you should know it’s better for the bees.
The honey you’re tasting is a mixture of nectars distilled by the bees as they see fit. It is a snapshot of 1 year in the life of these bees in their neighborhood. One taste is a picture of our ecosystem and how healthy it is. Our honey has an address. Pretty cool, huh?