We've been bottling our Sunset honey for holiday gifts (maybe you're thinking of giving local honey this year, too?), and it was the perfec...

We’ve been bottling our Sunset honey for holiday gifts (maybe you’re thinking of giving local honey this year, too?), and it was the perfect opportunity to compare spring versus summer honey. I was also curious to try our California honey alongside one I brought back from the tall grass prairie of Iowa (more on that below).

  Sunset spring and summer honey

Willis tall-grass prairie honey, Sunset spring honey, and Sunset summer honey

In general, spring honey tends to be paler and have a lighter, more floral flavor. Back in spring, our Sunset girls were visiting fava and eucalyptus flowers from the trees around the corner from our property, and our spring honey is pure and very sweet. There’s a bit of that eucalyptus flavor and a creamy, almost beeswaxy mouthfeel.

In summer, I’m guessing our girls were hitting the eucalyptus pretty hard, because the Sunset summer honey is full-flavored and caramel-like, with loads of menthol and even some black licorice. Intense stuff! It would be great drizzled over an aged manchego.

The Iowa honey is a spring honey, too. Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of visiting Paul and Phyllis Willis, the sustainable hog farmers who got Niman Ranch  pork started. On their property they’ve restored a swath of tall-grass prairie, and during my visit, it was alive with butterflies, frogs, and happy insects of all kinds, including bees. Their honey is extremely floral and complex, in a lovely feminine way, and reminds me of the beauty of their land.

  Wills Farm tall grass prairie

A few flowers and Monarch butterflies at the Willis tall-grass prairie land


Paul Wills and tall grass prairie
Here’s Paul Willis showing the “tall” part of tall-grass prairie

What local honey will you be giving—and tasting—this year ?

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