13 March 2009

Bees & Honey

Back in 2007 I posted a video of a bee grooming itself. I actually shot it back in '04, but figured it would be more useful on YouTube than just sitting on my hard drive. As the video didn't involve anyone getting hit in the crotch, blurting a witty catchphrase, or anything remotely disgusting, I never really got any feedback on it.

However... A couple of weeks ago I got a friendly e-mail from Jo Haugland, President of the High Land Beekeeping Club of Littleton, Colorado. She asked for permission to use the video in order to spice up a lecture about bee hygiene. I was more than happy to help out, as I'm a big fan of locally produced honey and it was for educational purposes. I just asked for my name to be mentioned somewhere and for a jar of honey in return if it wasn't too much trouble. I sent along additional photos, the original AVI of the footage, and details on how I shot it.

Last week the Colorado wildflower honey arrived along with homemade preserves and a beautiful beeswax candle. Like bread, cheese, and tomatoes, I've always felt that honey tastes best when produced in small batches.

This has a deep, earthy flavor I've never tasted in honey before. A lot of the Memphis-area product has a tangy, almost citrus edge to it, but this is deeper, darker, smooth, and rich. I tried a few drops straight off the spoon, but I immediately got a hunger for some fresh cornbread with melted butter. Or some sliced pears and goat cheese. Or just a piece of toast. We talk about terroir with wine, but it makes a big difference with honey as well, and you can get an amazing array of flavors across this country. If you've only tasted the industrial stuff in the grocery store, now is the time to branch out and support your local beekeepers!

P.S. I'm going to quote my paternal grandmother here from an e-mail, in reference to her mother:

I wish my mother could read/hear your description of honey. She loved wild honey better than sugar any time, and was happy when someone robbed a tree of great chunks of beeswax dripping the sweet stuff. She knew what blossoms flavored the honey, whether it was trees or plants. She used honey and molasses for cooking cakes and cookies when we had sugar rationing during WWII.

1 comment:

fredric koeppel said...

v. nice post. i love honey, especially the way in which the physical vehicle coveys the character of the original blossom whence the pollen was taken. Chestnut honey really does smell and taste different than lime honey, and of course i don't mean that there are chestnuts or limes in the honey, which is what people unfamiliar with honey think.