Our autumn honey sampler boxes ship out today. The following is the information included along with the three honey varietals. Our autumn honey sampler boxes will be available here through September 28.
Cardwell Hill: Poison-Oak & Chittum
We have two apiaries in the Cardwell Hill area, but this honey comes from our home property. Henry keeps his queen mother breeder colonies just up the hill from our house, so they’re easily accessible. He uses larvae from these hives to graft new queens every week throughout the spring and summer.
The site is located at about 1,000 feet elevation in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. In the spring, there are ample nectar and pollen resources from a diverse understory, but lack of soil moisture limits summer nectar flow, so Henry moves bees farther west as the site dries up.
Poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is one of the dominant understory species in the area and grows unsupported up to 12 feet tall or will vine up trees to at least 50 feet. Poison-oak has white, star-shaped flowers that hang in grape-like clusters. The species is so dense in this area that our hives generally produce surplus honey while the poison-oak is blooming in May if the weather permits foraging. The oils in the leaves and stems of the plant can cause dermatitis, but the bees are unaffected.
Chittum (Rhamnus purshiana), also know as cascara or cascara buckthorn, is a large shrub/small tree that grows abundantly in this area. The name chittum comes from Chinook jargon term derived from English for the laxative properties of the bark. Chittum has a sustained bloom from April until as late as June, and it’s small, inconspicuous, green flowers have easily accessible nectaries. It is a critical nectar flow for the bee colonies’ spring buildup in Western Oregon.
This honey has a mellow, earthy, butterscotch flavor. It includes small amounts of poison-oak pollen.
Burnt Woods: Blackberry & Groundsel
Our Burnt Woods apiary is located along the Tum Tum River (also a Chinook jargon term for “heart”) near Burnt Woods, Oregon, roughly halfway between Corvallis and the Pacific coast. This spot is in the heart of the Oregon Coast Range, and most of the adjacent land is owned by small family-owned timer companies or the Oregon State Department of Forestry. The bees mostly forage on weeds regrowing in recently logged areas. In addition to blackberry and groundsel, this honey probably includes nectar from St. John’s wort and scotch broom.
Himalayan backberry (Rubus bifrons) is a non-native, naturalized species that is widespread in the area. It fruits prolifically in the summer.
Groundsel (Senecio sylvaticus), also known as woodland ragwort, is a clearcut weed with petal-less yellow flowers. This nectar source is likely what gives the honey its yellow color.
This honey has a spiced fruit flavor with a buttery finish.
Our Peoria apiary is on ground farmed by Lee Gilmour, another young farmer that Henry met through his volunteer work as a director of the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District. The site has well drained but moist soil, and this year, it grew a great meadowfoam crop with good yields.
Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba Benth.) is a low, almost succulent-like plant native to Oregon and California that naturally grows in vernal pools. If you’ve ever driven through the Willamette Valley in June, you’ve probably noticed blindingly white fields of meadowfoam in bloom. Nearly all commercially produced meadowfoam seed is grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. After the seed is harvested in early summer, it is pressed into an oil that is mostly used in cosmetics.
Meadowfoam honey is widely known for its strong vanilla and/or marshmallow flavors. Most commercially available meadowfoam honey is extracted after the blackberry bloom, so it can be more subdued and marshmallowy. This honey was field extracted during the meadowfoam bloom and has an intense vanilla and root beer flavor.
Thanks so much for your support!
Henry and Camille