The Sweet Art of Beekeeping

Honey: Farming & Food

Depending on the climate and local flora, the taste of honey changes based on which flowers in a region the honeybees have pollinated. Honey produced in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts could have a slightly different taste than the honey produced in the Pioneer Valley. It’s fascinating how the flavor profile of the honey changes based on environmental differences; it truly reflects a sense of place, topography, and geography.

Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield, MA, is a local resource that supports an interest in beekeeping and honey production. Visit their annual honey festival in the fall for samples of freshly collected honey. Be sure to also look for farm stands alongside the road throughout the warmer months for honey gathered and sold by hobby apiarists and smaller apiaries in the region. Collect honey made from different flowers and regions and sample them with friends to see if you can detect the different flavors and colors different flowers impart to the honey. If you want to see a display of honey samples from all over the world, visit the Cummington Fair in late August for a comprehensive display. Cummington Fair in late August for a comprehensive display.

Interested in beekeeping yourself? Hampden County Beekeeper’s Association, established in 1930, promotes apiculture and offers monthly discussions, meetings, and a bee school from January-April for new beekeepers interested in learning. In the meantime, learn more about how the honey bee has impacted our culture by checking out Tammy Horn’s book, Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation.

[Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield]

Download our May/June edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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