Honey Tasting: Rainy Day Bees “Early” Neighborhood Honey

Early season honeys from Rainy Day Bees in SeattleThis weekend I came across a new apiary at the Shoreline farmer’s market: Rainy Day Bees, who offer “raw neighborhood honey” produced from hives they keep in the city of Seattle, in addition to raw Fireweed honey they get from beekeepers out of town. The two ‘city honeys’ are Fremont Early and Greenwood Early, labeled for the neighborhood within Seattle and the season the honey was collected. The bees that collected the Greenwood honey were actually situated on top of a building in the Greenwood area. These are the first honeys produced since the bees started foraging this spring. Based on the results, I can’t wait to taste the honeys produced later this year.

Tasting

These honeys look the same in the bottle, both being light-colored and clear, but they do not taste the same. The Fremont honey is more assertive, with a distinctive sour lemon taste from the maple trees that were blooming when it was collected. The Greenwood honey has much less of that lemon, though it’s there, and it’s decidedly soft and floral, with a green-melon flavor as well. It’s more runny and light on the tongue, but I find it the more complex tasting of the two. Both are keepers though.

Where To Find It

I found these at the Shoreline Farmers Market, where the beekeepers Peter and Amy Beth Nolte had a stand. They said they won’t be there every week and that they have limited stock (this year’s Greenwood Early is almost gone in fact). You can get honey directly from them on their website if you don’t manage to see them in person.

Honey Tasting: Polifloral Native Honey From Chile

Polifloral Native Honey from ChileThis is a honey I use all the time, and I’ve been buying extra in case it stops showing up in Seattle since it’s the best honey I know for putting in coffee. This is billed as a “polifloral” honey, which is just another way to say “wildflower”. But the Origen website says the flowers are native to the south of Chile and include “Coigües, Robles, Raulí, Arrayanes, Ciprés de la cordillera, Canelos, Tepas and Araucarias.” I want a picture.

Tasting

Despite all the flowers apparently involved, this is not a very floral honey (unlike Ulmo Tree and Tiaca, two others from Chile that are in-your-face flowery). Instead it reminds me of cooked bananas, or cooked fruit of some kind, with brown sugar. It’s very rich. It’s like a Thai desert I’ve had many times: cooked bananas with a sweet brown sauce.

I don’t take any kind of espresso drink sweetened, but if I make coffee at home with my grinder and French press, I like to add a little honey (or Dark Muscovado sugar) and coconut creamer. I’ve tried many honeys in coffee, and most just disappear into the coffee, which is a waste of good honey. But any honey with a cooked fruit thing going on seems to work in coffee.

Where To Find It

In Seattle, the only place I’ve seen this is Big John’s PFI. It’s imported by Origen (Chilean Gourmet), so maybe you can track down a distributor in your area.