Peoria : Brassica
Peoria, OR is located between Corvallis and Harrisburg on Highway 99 E along the Willamette River. It’s more of a community than a full-blown town at this time, but in the late 1800s is was a farming hub with many large-scale grain warehouses.
Brassica fields are hospitable apiary locations with abundant, high-quality forage for bees in the early spring. The hives tend to thrive on brassica fields, storing honey and growing in population. Brassica fields are showy and stunningly photogenic with their acres of bright yellow blossoms.
This honey comes from both turnip and canola (Brassica napus) nectar. Turnips and canola are the same species and have nearly identical nectar character. In the Willamette Valley, turnips are grown for vegetable seed, and this crop was farmed by Cody Younger, Henry’s friend from college. Non-GMO canola is grown for biodiesel production, and this crop was grown by Tyler Rohner. In 2008, Willamette Biomass Processors Inc. opened a biodiesel production facility in Rickreall, OR that contracts with local farmers like Tyler to grow canola and camelina (another brassica) for biofuel.
Brassica honey is notorious for crystallizing extremely quickly. Buckets of honey that we harvested just in late May are already completely solid in storage. You can either eat the honey crystallized, or warm it up in a water bath until it’s liquid again.
Brassica honey has a mild, earthy pepper and dried tobacco flavor.
Cannon Quarry : Wild Blackberry
Our Cannon Quarry apiary is located in an old shipyard on the Yaquina River about a mile upriver from Toledo, OR. In recent history, fishing boats have docked there, but in the past, it was used for storing log rafts. The site is owned by the Steenkolk family who’s been in the area for multiple generations. Bob Steenkolk, the current owner, was one of the last tugboat drivers to move log rafts on the Yaquina. We use this apiary at the end of the honey-producing season when we move in hives that have completed earlier pollination contracts in the Willamette Valley. It sits at the upper end of the tidelands with just enough inland warmth to make some surplus honey.
Himalayan blackberry (Rubus bifrons) is a non-native, naturalized species that is widespread in the area. It fruits prolifically in the summer.
This honey has the classic coastal blackberry characteristics with bright clean flavor and a lingering spicy finish.
Logsden : Late Wildflower
The small town of Logsden, Oregon is located in the central Oregon Coast Range along the upper Siletz River. Our Logsden apiary lies at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Siletz River surrounded by small farms, pasture land, and timberland. Spring nectar sources in the area include bigleaf maple, vine maple, bitter cherry, dewberry, and chittum.
The site gets enough inland heat to make a good, consistent honey crop, but it also dries out earlier than some of our other Coast Range apiaries. This season, however, we had enough late moisture for the clearcut weeds to produce a lot of nectar through the end of August. In addition to a lot of groundsel nectar, this honey probably includes thistle, St. John’s wort, and lotus (bird’s-foot trefoil) nectar from plants growing in recently logged areas. Our winter sampler included an earlier harvest of honey in this location, but this batch is from after the main-season (wild blackberry) nectar flow had ended.
This honey has a more intense tangy, dried fruit flavor than the main season Logsden honey. It also crystalizes more readily due to the higher pollen content.