Our seasonal tasting kit features three 2.2oz jars of our nature’s finest Spring, Summer, and Fall honey from Ithaca, New York. Our apiaries are surrounded by fragrant fields, bountiful orchards, lush forests, and rolling hills – in other words, a nectar treasure trove for our bees.
The main nectar sources in the Spring include orchard fruit blossoms, black locust flowers, and white clover. Our spring flow honey is usually light in color, mild in flavor, with floral aromas.
Spring honey in Ithaca is difficult to come by. With upstate New York's winters being harsh and cold, the bees usually consume the majority of the spring nectar flow to recover from winter losses and build up the colony's strength for the approaching summer season. As such, we treasure any surplus honey the bees manage to put aside for us to sample.
Our spring flows are often dominated by the most abundant flower source readily available to each bee yard. This major source tends to vary year to year, and yard to yard. For example in 2016 one yard collected mostly white clover, while another primarily collected dandelion nectar. In 2015 the main nectar collected was black locust, while 2014 was dominated by apple blossom.
The main nectar sources in the Summer include sumac, basswood (linden), and sweet clover. Our summer flow honey displays a wide range of colors; it can vary in flavor intensity from mild to strong, with fruity aromas and tangy tastes.
Summer nectar flows in Ithaca usually account for the majority of the honey crop that we harvest. There is an abundance of floral sources at almost all times of the summer for the bees to choose from. Occasionally, bad weather such as droughts or an overly wet and cool season will cause the bees to halt honey production. We strive to create blends of honey that best represent the unique characters of each season.
Our summer flows are often distinguished by major weather events that prevent the bees from collecting nectar from one major source or another from year to year. For example in 2016 we had severe drought conditions from mid to late summer and missed out on the majority of the basswood and sweet clover flows. In lieu of these major nectar sources, the bees sourced from blue chicory and other drought tolerant plants.
The main nectar sources in the Fall include knotweed ('Japanese bamboo'), goldenrod, and late blooming asters. Our fall flow honey is usually medium to dark in color, intensely flavored, with malty aromatics.
Fall honey in Ithaca is not difficult to come by. In preparation for the winter cold, we conservatively harvest fall honey from our bees. It's our philosophy that our bees should go into winter with their own honey. As such, instead of harvesting everything we can and back feeding with sugar syrup to fatten them up for winter, we make sure to leave more than enough honey to last them through a harsh season.
Our fall flows are pretty reliable and consistent. Some years the major nectar sources are intermixed; other years they are distinct. In 2015 knotweed and goldenrod were often interspersed within the same combs, whereas in 2016 they formed very distinct flows. Knotweed is a very dark red (nearly brown) honey. Goldenrod can be a medium to light amber, depending on the weather and which species were blooming for the year.