This was one of those great moments when an irresistible picture presents itself. All else must stop when you see it happen and you have a camera to capture the moment! I took this picture a few months ago and figured I would eventually find a way to use it. It never occurred to me that there would be something so very appropriate for this simple “Kodak moment!” Has this little guy got his head in the sand? Oh no, on the contrary, this is one very industrious and hard-at-work little insect!
While looking for a collection of Hawaii-related stories in a little shop the other day, I found something that peaked my curiosity. On a different shelf of unrelated items, some little jars caught my attention. The label said, “rare, Hawaiian, organic, white honey.” Huh? All kinds of questions popped into my head. Why is it white? Another industry to replace sugar cane? Why isn’t this in the grocery store?
When faced with all of these questions and an industry that I never even thought about, I had to be niele (that means nosy in Hawaiian) and find out more about it, of course! I had to have a jar of this stuff! So, I left the little shop with my new book and a jar of honey. What a combo!
When I got home to my computer I wasted quite a bit of time looking for stuff. Then it dawned on me to go directly to the source. Duh! (I did that once with Norbest turkeys. Do you guys know that those turkeys are white too?!?) Anyway, on just one of those little 8 oz jars of honey there is an abundance of information, not the least of which is a web address!
Volcano Island Honey Company is located on the Big Island of Hawaii and their website has an abundance of information about our tropical honey for all of you little niele honeys out there. While we’re building our Hawaiian vocabulary, how do we say “honey” in Hawaiian? “Wai meli.” What’s the literal meaning? Bee liquor. I love that!
Once I was able to drag myself away from the computer, I had to try the little delicacy I purchased, so I did. I can’t even begin to describe it and all of the thoughts that went through my mind. The biggest thought? “What have they done to the honey we buy in the store?” Seriously, that’s the first thing that went through my mind! (Apparently I’m not the only one to have had difficulty describing the taste! Scroll down until you see the paragraph on “Taste.”)
The honey in the regular grocery stores is different. It’s sticky, it’s processed, it’s messy, it’s… it’s just not right! The honey from Volcano Island Honey Company is smooth, it doesn’t run, it tastes like sugar (without the aftertaste), it’s spreadable, it dissolves, it’s just, well, it’s just good! It actually becomes part of what you put it in — it enhances the flavor without taking it over. The list of ingredients says, “Pure Raw Organic Hawaiian Honey.” Hmmm…
Raw is not usually a word that most of us like to see when associated with a food product. Until now. If the honey is left too long in the comb it crystallizes and has to be heated to extract the honey. What happens? The taste, the color and the texture of the honey are altered! So, raw honey is actually something a real honey connoisseur will be seeking, if they know what they’re doing!
Did you know that honey will taste different if the bees harvest nectar from different flowers? Who would have thought? I didn’t see all of those different honeys offered by Volcano Island Honey while I was in the store where I bought mine. Some of them are seasonal. I have my eye on one of them and I will talk about that, and why, in a later post… once I get my hands on some! I promise.
Then I wondered if there was more to learn or see. Oh boy, was there more! Certainly more than I can even begin to cover here! Check out the process for making the honey! And all of this wonderful stuff is the result of, and nested in, keawe trees? These are the trees that supply the wood we use to barbecue food over! They’re certainly nothing to look at, but, I guess now we know why it’s the wood of choice for making food taste good! Apparently the bees agree with us.
Okay, we’ve got all of this knowledge but the website wasn’t finished there. We’re going for more than just a treat for Thanksgiving; we’re going for some Christmas giving as well! Here’s a rather different treasure trove of Hawaiian gifts for us to contemplate. Talk about “Made in Hawaii!”
I have to share this one little story. For the record, I did try to find out if the moon has anything to do with honey harvesting or its production. I couldn’t find anything directly related to the bees but, in the process of looking for any lunar impact, I did stumble on something interesting.
In 1984 honeybees became little astronauts aboard the space shuttle! Seriously! As part of an experiment, the bees actually managed to build a honeycomb in space… and with no gravity! That was all I was able to find in the way of any direct celestial involvement, but I thought it was pretty cool.
The only question now is to figure out which item holds more fascination for me — the jar of honey made by the bees or their website? Our Big Island residents get to go see these honeybees at work! I’m so jealous! I’m telling you, all of this makes a person look at bees in a whole different light! Yeah, yeah, I know, buy a ticket. An airline ticket. 😉 Until then, I’ve got my honey to bee with me!
Volcano Island Honey Company, LLC
46-4013 Puano Road
Honokaa, HI 96727
Toll Free: 1-888-663-6639