Honey, like wine, is a product of its environment. The spring weather challenges this year in the Smoky Mountains have made for unique nectar opportunities for the bees. The result is a delicious 2021 harvest of Killer Bees Honey wildflower honey.
Appalachia was beset by several late spring cold snaps. Even though January, February and March had mild daytime temperatures, there were two nights in March where it dropped below 20°. Unfortunately, both freezes occurring three weeks apart burned or killed early blooming buds. Red maple and many early ground flowers such as daffodils, tulips and pansies were frostbit and unable to produce essential spring nectar and pollen for the bees. Many hives which had been building up in numbers quickly went into distress and began to starve due to lack of resources. Beekeepers in the area were forced to feed sugar water to their colonies to keep them from perishing. Killer Bees Honey allows our bees to winter with over 50lbs of honey, but even with this surplus, two colonies expired. Other Western North Carolina beekeepers were not so lucky with some reporting losses of over 50%.
“Blackberry winter” is a colloquial expression used by mountain people to describe a late cold snap during the spring. This event results in the local blackberry bushes exploding with blooms throughout the local mountains. Not only were the blackberry bushes turbo-charged, but so were buckberry, huckberry and wild blueberry bushes. Fortunately, the months of April and May were warm and dry. This allowed unfettered access to copious amounts of mineral rich tulip poplar nectar as well. The hives were able to make up for lost time and quickly replenished their stocks.
This Year's Wildflower Honey
The result of the blackberry winter makes up most of our spring Smoky Mountain Wildflower honey - a multiflowered mix from over one hundred botanical sources. The common spring ground cover of dandelion and clover is under-represented thanks to prodigious honey-producing trees like sumac and tulip poplar. This has resulted in a robust, smoky-flavored honey, lightened by some of the black locust stands that the bees got into as well. Black locust honey alone has a sweet, delicate, fruity taste with hints of vanilla.
Ultimately, all these elements have produced a deep, mineral-rich honey with tremendous reach and lasting flavors from the dozens of varietal spring nectars coming from the Pisgah Forest. We hope you enjoy it. We think our bees did another outstanding job not just for our loyal customers, but for the surrounding flora of the Western North Carolina mountain’s in which they live. You can purchase our 2021 Smoky Mountain Wildflower Honey here.
For the honey nerds among us:
- This is classified as “light amber (76mm Pfund scale).”
- Phenomenally low 14.8% moisture level.