We're making honey out here in Southern California. And how do we do it? Well, beekeepers are taking advantage of some of nature's finest resources: Flowering Native Plants! Many California plants have nectar that is delicious to the honeybee: Buckwheat, Sage, Cactus Flowers and Wildflowers. Beekeepers take their bees to a meadow where Wildflowers are blooming in the Spring, and then when those blossoms are done they move to a hillside of Sage or Buckwheat, which bloom into the Fall.
Luckily, the hillsides are covered with blooming natives in the Coastal Mountains from Santa Barbara down to Baja. including Topanga Canyon, home to Topanga Quality Honey. This diversity makes for a delicious variety of honeys, and makes for some happy local bees, as well.
California Buckwheat. (Erigonum fasciculatum)
This drought tolerant native blooms all Summer, even into Fall. It has an abundance of flowers, creamy white, tinged with pink. As they mature, the flowers turn to a rust color. "Viewing hillsides covered with the coppery seedheads of California Buckwheat is a uniquely Western Experience." As expressed in Carol Bornstein's California Native Plants for the Garden. The honey made from this plant is sought after for its dark, full bodied flavor, as well as its high antioxidant and nutritional value.
Purple Sage (Salvia Leucophylla) Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
The bees of the Santa Monica Mountains are lucky to have such an abundant and diverse source of native plants to feed from. And, we are lucky too, as this allows us to enjoy a variety of unique tasting honeys. By adding native plants to your yard or garden, you can help add to the biodiversity in California or the State you live in. As 'top dog' on this planet, the job falls on us to act also as good stewards of all we have inherited.
You can visit a Honey Tasting Room at Bennett Farms, Ventura, CA.
And find out more about the Research they are doing into Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).