Archive for July, 2013

Light Honey vs. Dark Honey

July 1, 2013

During the spring and early summer of 2013 we have seen the darkest, richest color in our honey yet to date.  So many of our customers are curious about why our honey is much darker than previous years.  As a general rule, Europeans tend to prefer darker, richer honey, and Americans often prefer its lighter counterpart which they often see on grocery store shelves.  Dark honey tends to have a much higher percentage of nutrients, and the flavors of darker honey tend toward being more rich and complex.  Birdsong Farm’s darker than normal honey this spring is directly related to the wetter than average weather we have been having.

We previously believed that the honey color was directly related to the bloom, and darker colors were more connected to and controlled by the flowers that bees were pollinating.  New insight has allowed us to see that the connection however is related directly to climate.  Darker honey has a much higher percentage of pollen, nutrients and flavor compounds.  During previous spring seasons that were more sunny, the pollen was more plentiful producing a honey from a more rapid nectar flow.  This year with the plentiful rain and moisture, the bees have had a slower flow of nectar producing a much darker, richer, nutrient packed honey.  So, for pure health value, our June 2013 honey batch is some of Birdsong Farm’s best ever.

What kind of honey is Birdsong Farm Honey?

In our area in early spring, we get an abundance of florals including both white and red clover, and myriad berries including strawberries, blueberries, rasperries, and plentiful wild blackberries.  Our early season honey is also packed with pollen from the our forests, namely walnut, maple, chestnut, locust and tulip poplars; as well as an abundance of apple and peach and cherry trees from our neighbor’s orchards.  In July we move into the florals.  Our bees pollinate on our lavendar fields and a wide variety of local wildflowers as well as local sour wood trees.  This has long been one of our most popular honey varietals.  In August we have plentiful goldenrod and aster in our floral blends which both produce a nectar with some of the highest protein and mineral content making it healthy for our darling bees to survive the cold temperatures of our winter in the WV mountains.  Once again nature provides exactly what our apiary needs for prime health, helping our colonies of bees stay healthy and strong through the winter.