Honey Tasting: 2013 Columbia Gorge Wildflower

Columbia Gorge Wildflower 2013In my previous post I talked about how honey from the same place can vary from year to year. Here is a perfect example: the 2013 batch of Columbia Gorge Wildflower, distributed by Hummingbird Wholesale in Eugene Oregon. The 2012 version of this honey is still one of my favorite honeys ever, and tastes like no other that I own. It has a strong, deeply herbal smell that jumps out of the jar and that fills your nose when you eat it, and it has a kind of tart flavor. My big jar of it is down to 1/4, so naturally I grabbed the 2013 version with full force when I saw it on the shelf. Lo and behold, it’s nothing like last year’s, but it’s most excellent on it’s own terms.


I immediately classed this among my “bourbon honeys”. I picked up that term from my friend Jane who collects rare whiskey, when she said that one of my honeys reminded her of bourbon. This 2013 Columbia Gorge honey has a kind of vanilla thing going on that makes me think of meadowfoam honey, but it isn’t simply that. There is also a woody nuttiness, balanced with subtle floral hints. Then it finishes a bit dry, like a chestnut honey can. It’s great. This weekend I mixed it into my homemade “energy gel” that I make with soaked chia seeds among other things, and the distinctiveness of this honey really stood out when diluted this way (especially as my senses were turned up while running at the beach in Discovery park). It also stood out in my morning black tea. I’m sure this one would be tasty on cheese.

Where To Get It

I’ve only ever seen this honey at the Minglemint Natural Food Store on Vashon Island (next to the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie). There are always interesting honeys on the shelves there, so whenever I visit Vashon I drop by. I’m assuming that Hummingbird Wholesale sells this honey to other places closer to their home base in Oregon – you can contact them to find out.


I got some more information on this honey from Danielle at Hummingbird Wholesale, who was nice enough to query their source and pass it along:

“Our wildflower honey is coming from a different beekeeper this year since the beekeeper who has bee supplying us for many years didn’t have any honey for us this year. The new beekeeper is a father and son who have been beekeeping for 12 years. They have 1600 colonies. After pollinating almonds in California and apples and cherries in the Milton-Freewater area, they move their bees to honey locations in the foothills of the Oregon Blue Mountains. Their honey locations are at least 5 miles from any conventional farming areas. The nectar sources are from a variety of mountain wildflowers and brush. These plants include, fireweed, star thistle, vetch, serviceberry, huckleberry, mock orange, sumac, elderberry, blackberry, snowberry and many others.”

No wonder it’s different!

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