Smith Island : Pumpkin & Alfalfa

$ 11.00

This honey varietal derived primarily from pumpkin (Curcubita maxima) and alfalfa nectar was harvested in mid-August at our Smith Island apiary near Corvallis, OR. It is available in 8-ounce (BPA-free) plastic squeeze bottles. The harvest date, apiary location, and primary nectar source(s) are written on the label.  

Smith Island, an island in the Willamette River just south of Corvallis, is still farmed by relatives of its namesake Green Berry Smith. The nearby community of Greenberry was also named after the same pioneer who arrived in the area in 1846. Loren Smith and his son Dan Smith grow a variety of seed and forage crops on the island including hairy vetch, red clover, orchard grass, arrowleaf clover, alfalfa, and pumpkins. 

Loren has always been very conscientious about maintaining native pollinator habitat in the riparian areas, gravel bars, and periphery of farm fields. The staggered bloom times of the various crops he grows support impressive pollinator species diversity. We brought these bees in to pollinate later-blooming pumpkins.

The pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) field was planted with an heirloom, hubbard-type “Golden Delicious” pumpkin grown for its edible seeds that are used for the snack market. The vines bloom through August, and the resulting pumpkin honey was one of the last batches we harvested in the 2016 season. Pumpkin flowers yield dark nectar, resulting in very dark honey.

The Smiths grow alfalfa (Medicago sativa) as a broadleaf rotation crop and to replenish soil nitrogen. They harvest multiple cuttings of alfalfa hay per year. Last summer had a stretch of cooler weather after the first cutting, so the plants bloomed for a longer period than they normally would allow. Leaf cutter bees are more effective than honeybees for pollinating alfalfa, but honeybees are able to gather significant nectar from the flowers. Alfalfa usually has “water white” (clear) nectar, resulting in a very light-color honey. 

This honey came from bees that had access to alfalfa as well as the later pumpkin bloom. The result is a milder flavor with some of the funky tartness of varietal pumpkin honey.

This honey is somewhat thicker and lower moisture than your average honey. Normally, Henry harvest frames of honey in the field and then stashes them in our “hot room” (basically the opposite of a cooler kept at about 105°) until Camille is ready to extract within a few days. The honey is liquid and flows more readily out of the comb if it is nice and warm at extraction time. As our lives got really busy late last summer, a couple batches of honey stayed in the hot room before extraction longer than they probably should have, dehydrating to a degree and producing a thicker, more concentrated honey that many people really love. 

We never heat our honey over natural hive temperatures, and we only filter it minimally, so it may include pollen, small wax particles, and the occasional bee bit. All natural honey will solidify eventually. To liquify, place the jar in a bowl of warm (not boiling) water. Our honeys are never flavored or infused with added ingredients. The varietal names indicate the primary nectar source plants the bees were foraging on at the time of surplus honey production. 

If you intend to buy this honey as a gift, please include a note for the recipient at checkout.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this or any of our other products,

Shipping: Honey will be mailed USPS Priority within 3 business days of purchase and should arrive 2-3 days later. 

Bottle Size Quantity Shipping Cost
8 oz.  1-3 $7
8 oz. 4-15 $13

At this time, we are unable to ship internationally.

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