Florida produces the majority of citrus fruit in the United States. The orange is the official state fruit, orange juice is the official state beverage, and the orange blossom is the state flower. The delicate white blossom, which grows on orange trees, is used to make orange blossom honey. During bloom, beehives are placed inside of the groves to harness the orange flavors, which infuses the bees' honey with a light citrus taste and adds to its natural sweetness. While orange blossom honey in other states typically incorporates pollen from various citrus sources, the abundance of orange groves in Florida allows farmers to target only orange blossom pollen, yielding a truly pure flavor.
A delicious but hard-to-find Florida honey is the dark and almost smoky flavored mangrove honey. Produced in November, mangrove honey is typically only available at select farmer's markets. Made from the flowers of a strange tree which grows in shallow bay waters, this dark sweet treat is a real find. Buy it by the gallon if you find it.
Not only is Montsant known for its incredible wines, but this small region in Catalunya, not too far from Barcelona, also generates incredibly popular honeys. Produced in local farms, Mel de Montsant is known for its savory sweet flavour and unique fusion of natural ingredients. It's made in the province of Catalunya and can be found in select specialty food stores across the country.
Mel De Montsant — Photo courtesy of Priorat Catalunya
The Ballard Bee Company in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington produces some of the region’s best local honey while working to boost the urban honeybee population. To do this, they’ve placed hives everywhere from restaurant rooftops to private backyards. Local residents can sponsor, host or rent hives to keep on their properties and take advantage of the Ballard Bee Company’s apiary consultation services (not to mention the opportunity for free honey.) Beekeeping supplies can also be purchased through their website, but whether or not you're willing to share your personal space with a beehive, Ballard is a great starting point when on the search for local honey in the Pacific Northwest.
Ballard Bee Company Honey — Photo courtesy of Ballard Bee Company
On the Big Island of Hawaii, Big Island Bees (BIB) has been making artisan honey since 1971. The family run business has roots in beekeeping going back four generations. Their most popular honey, called lehua honey, is thick and crystallized from lebua blossoms from the Puna and Hamakua areas. Other common Big Island honeys include macadamia nut, kiawe from a small portion of Kona, eucalyptus honey form Na`alehu and Hamakua, and wilelaiki (Christmasberry) honey. All are from blossoms of the same name. Each day the team at BIB travels island wide to check on each hive, totaling about 200,000,000 bees across 3,300 hives from the mountains to the ocean.
Big Island Bees' honey — Photo courtesy of Big Island Bees