The Best Honey in the World
As Pennsylvania beekeepers, we’re fortunate to have native blooms that produce very pleasant tasting wildflower honey three seasons long. We have Black Locust tree blossoms in early spring, Goldenrod for most of the summer and in the fall, there are wildflowers such as cone flowers and marigolds. With that being said, the only time there is an abundance of food for the bees is in Spring when our Black Locust trees are blooming. We always get a nice harvest of honey at this time and afterwards, the bees spend most of their time foraging whatever they can find. We started to wonder if we could migrate our bees to nearby states with slightly different terrain to catch blooms that Pennsylvania wouldn’t necessarily have. It seemed plausible and after a little research we made a big discovery that we did not expect to find. Similar to how Pennsylvania has Black Locust trees, Virginia is filled with Sourwood Trees. The tree that produces the most sought-after honey in the world. Now Sourwoods are native to Pennsylvania and our bees are sure to collect pollen from a few while out hunting for food, but we don’t have nearly enough in Pennsylvania to produce pure, single sourced honey. We found out though, that Virginia does.
Sourwood honey has been voted number one time and time again by experts from around the world and if you’ve ever had it, you know why. Starting with how it looks, this honey is translucent with the slight hints of pale yellow and I must say that there is something so satisfying about being able to see through honey in a jar. Sourwood honey also has strong notes of vanilla that you taste immediately, which mimic the flavor of marshmallows. As someone who has a strong flavor palette, this was quite surprising, and I have officially nicknamed it the marshmallow honey. Sourwood honey is ideal as a side on Charcuterie boards, or as a topping on spiced baked goods like Gingerbread or Cinnamon Rolls. It shouldn’t be used in things that will mask its great flavor.
Now, getting our bees to Virginia for the bloom of Sourwood Trees wouldn’t be too difficult but we had to find the ideal place to put them. There couldn’t be any other plants or flowers worth foraging within a 3-mile radius of where we placed our hives. So, we placed a few Facebook inquiries in the Virginia area seeking someone with the ideal location who wouldn’t mind having millions of bees on their property for a few weeks. After being contacted by several people and having to fish out less than ideal spots, we found a farm in Stewart, Virginia filled with Sourwood trees. It was right next to a mountain and we knew that with the abundant bloom, our bees would have no reason to fly over the mountain to find food elsewhere. This farm is where 25 of our production hives have been living for the last month.
We knew we would get a good honey harvest, but we never could’ve imagined just how good this honey was going to be. Not only did we get the single largest harvest of honey we’ve ever produced, but without a doubt, the best tasting honey to come from our hives. The tree’s bloom is over now, and our bees are back home foraging in Pennsylvania where they will continue producing delicious wildflower honey but we will definitely be back to Virginia next year to catch this incredible bloom.