Before I get started I want to thank Capay Hills Orchard for letting me use their awesome photos of their almond blossoms with the bees visiting them.
Have you noticed over the last decade the increase in almond products in our stores?
Almonds have become a popular "substitute". You see almonds replacing dairy, with the rise in popularity of almond milk. Almonds - in the form of almond butter have been teaming up more with jelly in sandwiches across the country.
Head over to the baking section and you will see almond flour for gluten free baking. Almonds are also being used to make vegan cheeses. They are everywhere.
With interest rising in replacing dairy, peanuts, and gluten, the almond industry has gotten a huge push. California seems to be breaking their own almond production records each year.
For those almonds trees to produce heavy crops to supply the increasing almond demand, we need the bees. Bees need to do their pollination thing. So of course there is going to be honey produced from the nectar the bees collect.
If almond production is so high, how come we aren't seeing almond blossom honey everywhere as well?
Where is All the Almond Honey?
Some of it may be in the trash.
What? They are throwing honey out?
Some beekeepers are doing that. Why would they throw out something they could sell? Because it is not that easy to sell. You see almond honey is a dark honey. I mean so dark you wonder if light can penetrate it's surface. It has a very bitter and very strong flavor to it especially when it first comes out of the hive (I have been told that is does mellow out some in time). Many people couldn't even stomach eating the honey. It hasn't had a huge market for it.
If you are use to just eating the very common clover honey, jumping to almond blossom honey would be quite the leap for you! If you have had buckwheat or avocodo honey that maybe you might be interested in trying almond blossom honey.
Almond Blossom as a Baker's Honey
Not all almond honey is just being dumped out. Some beekeepers will move their bees so enough after pollinating the almonds to other nectar sources, that way they can get a honey that is blended and more appealing to a wider audience (such as the amazing Cherry + Almond blossom honey I wrote about earlier this week)
Almond honey has been given the reputation as being a "baker's honey". Great for baking, not great for just eating at the table. This reduces the value of the honey and the amount of money that beekeepers can charge for the honey. For some, it has not been worth their time to deal with it, and they are better off discarding it, blending it, or leaving it for the bees themselves. The real money for the beekeeper has been pollinating the almonds themselves, not selling their honey. For some keepers this is a huge portion of their income for the entire year.
There are other reasons too we aren't seeing tons of almond honey besides the taste. It is not easy to produce bulk quantities of it. The nectar provided by the almonds may not be enough to produce a ton of honey. Perfect conditions are needed to produce a sizable harvest of almond honey.
Most of the nectar is produced after the trees have been pollinated. At that point, most beekeepers are ready to split and move on to the next thing. This is especially crucial because when the bees run out of a source of nectar that will find another one. Often crops such as alfalfa are in bloom. If these crops are sprayed with pesticides, than this is game over for the bees. Obviously the beekeeper does not want to lose his bees.
Where to Buy Almond Blossom Honey
Beekeepers have been told that only light-colored honeys would sell. Probably for a time that has been true. But as American's palet is waking up (I hope it really is waking up), I think there is a greater demand for full flavored foods. I heard from some beekeepers that they do have customers coming to them specifically seeking out almond blossom honey. So there are sources now where you can get your hands on almond blossom honey. Let me list a few for you here.
Bill's Bees | Buy Almond Honey
Bill's Bees describes their Almond blossom honey as having "a sharp, tangy flavor with a slightly nutty aftertaste." Cool fact for you, when Dreamworks was working on "A Bee Movie" they actually got advice about bees from Bill.
The Bee Folks | Buy Almond Honey
The Bee Folks began beekeeping after they noticed that their tomatoes plants weren't producing. So they got bees and one thing let to another and they became beekeepers.
Waxing Kara | Buy Cherry + Almond Honey
If Almond honey is too much for you this perfect blend of almond and cherry blossom honey will hit the spot. One of the most complex honeys I have ever tried. So so good. Make sure to check out my post in our Products I Love series to learn more about how you need this honey in your life.
Have you ever tried Almond honey before? I would love to hear what you think of it. Yea or nah? Leave a comment below.