Nashville : Dewberry & Meadowfoam
Nashville, Oregon is located in eastern Lincoln County along the upper Yaquina River, known for its scenic waterfalls and prolific salmon runs. The small, Coast Range town site was named after railroad promoter Wallis Nash who lived in the area for decades until his death in 1926.
Our apiary is situated at the Harmsen family’s historic mill site that until recently processed fir and cedar logs from the surrounding area. The Upper Yaquina Valley is mainly private timber land with pasture, hay production ground, and hedgerows. The ecology of the area is pretty standard for the Oregon Coast Range with abundant scotch broom, wild blackberries, and clear-cut weeds along with native species such as chittum and vine maple.
Prior to moving into the Nashville apiary, the hives that produced this honey were placed in Tangent, OR in a turnip seed field. As the turnip bloom was slowing down, an adjacent meadowfoam field began to bloom. The hives remained in place for about a week with bees foraging for meadowfoam nectar before we transported them with honey supers in place out to Nashville. The bees backfilled the honeycomb with dewberry nectar, creating a naturally blended honey from two locations and two nectar species.
Dewberry (Rubus ursinus), also knows as trailing blackberry or trip briar, is a low-growing native blackberry that produces edible fruits later in the summer. The dewberry bloom is one of the principle spring nectar flows for bees in the Pacific Northwest.
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 late spring, 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.
Even though, by volume, this honey is made mostly of mild-tasting dewberry nectar, the meadowfoam nectar has a stronger flavor and shines through with it’s typical vanilla notes.
Harris : Wild Blackberry
This apiary is located near the Marys River upstream from the Harris Covered Bridge between the community of Harris and the town of Blodgett. The Harris Covered Bridge opened in 1936 and continues to this day as a functional and scenic landmark. Harris Road is a popular bike route, and nearby Harris Bridge Vineyard brings a lot of visitors out to the area.
Our apiary is on the eastern edge of the Oregon Coast Range, so it’s in more of an oak-fir mixed woodland as opposed to our more western locations that are fir-, alder-, and hemlock-dominant. The spot also has a significant population of snowberry, knapweed, poison-oak, and minor wildflowers.
Himalayan backberry (Rubus bifrons) is a non-native, naturalized species that is widespread in the area. It fruits prolifically in the summer.
This honey has a clean, bright, fruity flavor.
Kiger Island : Parsley & Mint
Our Kiger Island apiary is located on an island in the Willamette River just south of Corvallis, Oregon. 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 Funke family are farmers in the Willamette Valley that produce essential oils from clary sage, chamomile, parsley, peppermint, and other plants. This parsley crop and the peppermint were grown for distillation, but the plants were allowed to bloom to reach maximum oil content before harvesting. The parsley and mint fields were adjacent to the earlier-blooming clary sage field where we produced our clary sage honey.
Blooming parsley supports a wide array of pollinators and beneficial insects. Letting it go to flower in your home garden can provide a good opportunity for insect observation.
Peppermint is traditional Willamette Valley crop. Both parsley and mint are late-blooming crops that offer abundant nectar to bees in the Valley.
This honey is rich with a hint of chocolate and herbal notes.