Honey is tasty, healthy, and best yet, all natural! Fresh honey flavors change with the environment since honeybees typically travel no further than 3 miles from their hive. Rochester’s Pat Bono, manager of Rochester Beekeepers and owner and sole beekeeper of award-winning Seaway Trail Honey, keeps her bees along the shores of Lake Ontario, harvesting honey from them each week. She shares her insights on our region’s honey flavors. “This has been a phenomenal honey year,” says Pat. “We are in a very good part of the state for honey production thanks to a limestone belt that runs across the state. This creates sweet soil here, which is not found in the Southern Tier and Adirondack Regions.” To determine which types of flower nectars contributed to her honey, Pat sends it out for pollen analysis. “We are very fortunate to have a patchwork of land, woods, wetlands, open fields and meadows rather than huge areas of monoculture crops,” she says. “There are always wild areas, which is good because bees prefer wildflowers.” Honey is a product of both time and place. As different types of plants bloom throughout the year, honey flavors change. Pat’s observations may help you choose your next jar!
Looking for an alternative to maple syrup? Try local honey on your pancakes! Top with butter, fruit or nuts and enjoy!
SPRING: Most nectar tends to come from tree blossoms. Flavors: Sweet and mild with floral notes EARLY SUMMER: Much nectar comes from Linden and wild basswood blossoms. Flavors: Very sweet honey, mild SUMMER: Native clovers all over are a great nectar source. Flavors: One of the “tea honeys,” sweet and mild with floral notes LATE SUMMER/FALL: Native goldenrod blooms in abundance, offering much nectar to pollinators. Flavors: A much darker, robust, almost caramel taste
Food & Drink Honey Pairings: Drizzle honey on roasted almonds or walnuts and bake in the oven. A dollop of honey in a bowl of greek yogurt also is a tasty treat. Swirl sweet honey in your morning cup of coffee instead of sugar to sweeten it up. Drizzle a little honey on an aged cheese such as sharp or blue. The sweet honey will mellow out the strong flavor.