Maple blossom honey comes from flowers of Big Leaf Maple trees which bloom in April on the west coast.
100% of this honey was collected from flowers on Salt Spring Island.
It is raw which means it has never been heated beyond the temperature you would normally find inside a hive in order to preserve the natural enzymes that the bees add to it.
It has been screened but has not been filtered because we do not want to remove the natural pollen grains. For that reason it is not as clear as store bought honey.
The floral source of the honey is written on the label. The source will change from batch to batch throughout the season.
Most liquid honey crystallizes eventually and depending on the source of the honey it might take a month and it might take years. For example Maple blossom honey stays liquid much longer than other honey. If your honey crystallizes that does not mean it is going bad. You can put it in hot (37c) water to bring it back to liquid with minimal change in taste or aroma. It is important to leave it long enough so all the crystals are redissolved or the remaining crystals will “seed” the honey and it will immediately crystalize again. Do not microwave or put honey in boiling water.
Honey is considered raw if it has not been heated beyond the temperatures that you would find inside a hive on a summer day. It is slightly heated to allow it to flow for extracting and bottling purposes but it is never heated above 35-37c. Raw honey has also never been filtered, only put through a screen to clean it. That means that you can expect it not to be as clear as honey that has all of the pollen filtered out.
It is very difficult to make surplus honey on Salt Spring Island. This is due to not having large fields of flowering monoculture like clover, canola, or alfalfa. Salt Spring bees collect honey from wildflowers and blooming trees instead. Salt Spring also often experiences very dry summers which result in the flowers not being able to make much nectar. Lastly, most of Salt Spring Island is forested which mean the number of flowers available to bees is much less.
Honey you find on the grocery store shelf is not really local honey even if it states on the label that it is, because of the loose definition of local. Local could mean anywhere within 400 miles, and even then, beekeepers can buy honey from other places and add it to their own honey up to a certain percentage. Honey on the store shelf is frequently adulterated. As an example, Chinese honey is banned for import into Canada because of many examples of antibiotics in the honey or rice sugar syrup added to it. This does not stop them from selling to packers in another country who can then relabel the barrel’s country of origin and sell it to Canada.
Salt Spring Island honey comes in small batches with each batch having a different floral source, aroma, moisture content, and color. The batch and source information on the label helps us keep track of various details about that particular jar of honey.