Kiger Island : Clary Sage
Our Kiger Island apiary is located on an island formed by the Booneville Slough and the Willamette River just south of Corvallis, OR. Kiger Island is locally renown for its fertile soil and agricultural productivity. Several family farms have been located in the area for generations, growing a variety of specialty crops including ginseng, kiwis, hazelnuts, grain, pumpkins, blueberries, alfalfa, mint, grass seed, and vegetable seed. The clary sage grower, Mike Hathaway, is a fourth generation farmer in the area.
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a perennial herb with purple or white flowers grown for seed in the Willamette Valley. Essential oils and resins distilled from the leaves and stems of the plant are often used in perfumes or for herbal and medicinal purposes.
This honey has a floral, rosewater flavor with a unique nut brittle finish.
Wren : Queen Anne’s Lace & Wild Blackberry
Wren is a small community northwest of Philomath, OR. Wren had a post office, store, and a bar in the not too distant past, but today, the only public places in the area are the Wren Community Hall and the tire shop. Our apiary is located on another old mill site owned by a local family business, Thompson Timber.
Wren is notable for its remnant Willamette Valley prairie habitat, which hosts endangered Taylor’s checkerspot and Fender’s blue butterflies. This ecosystem becomes dominated by Queen Anne’s lace bloom at the end of the summer.
Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) is a common non-native pasture weed also known as wild carrot. It is a consistent pollen source for honeybees, but in years with enough soil moisture, the flowers produce nectar to make late-season honey with strong character.
This honey has a bit of cinnamon toast flavor with a lingering earthy finish.
Lobster Valley : Wild Blackberry & Foxglove
The community of Lobster Valley is located south of Alsea, OR, and our apiary sits on an old mill site adjacent to Lobster Creek. Both the valley and the creek are named for the abundance of crawdads inhabiting local waters. Olsens, Hendrixes, and Sapps, all members of legacy families in the Alsea area, operated the mill for generations.
Hives in that particular site have a high threat of bear damage, so they were relocated to safer locales shortly after the honey harvest. In areas with known bear populations, we sometimes set up electric fences with solar chargers, but fencing is a significant extra effort, and we’ve had expensive chargers stolen more than once.
Lobster Valley has extra local moisture due to a high water table where a closed stream meander has been overtaken by pasture grasses, lots of lotus, some knapweed, dense foxglove, and blackberry thickets. Tracts of land are still owned by local families and either in timber production or passively managed pasture.
Himalayan backberry (Rubus bifrons) is a non-native, naturalized species that is widespread in the area. It fruits prolifically in the summer.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a widespread non-native weed. Its flowers are better suited to bumblebee pollination than honeybee pollination because of their distinctive trumpet shape with nectaries that are difficult for honeybees to get to. One of the traits we select for in our honeybee breeding program is the ability to work foxglove and take advantage of harder to access nectar sources. Foxglove is poisonous, but compounds found in the plant have been used to treat heart conditions.
This honey is bright, clean, and fruity with a strong pollen flavor.