Found Me a Sweet Honey to Bee with Me!

Busy HoneyBee

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?

Bottles of Hawaiian Honey

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 theHoney with tea and creme crackers! 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
Phone: 808-775-1000
Toll Free: 1-888-663-6639

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14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pua // Oct 14, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Love your post about Volcano Island Honey. There is no better way to praise this rare island delicacy! This white honey melts on your tongue. No comparison to other honeys from the supermarket shelves. This is the perfect Hawaiian gift to take home from your Big Island vacation…has been our gift for many years for family and friends! Take the taste of Hawaii home with you. Aloha, Pua

  • 2 Evelyn // Oct 14, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Hi Pua, thank you for the comment! It just amazes me that it is so very different from my previous concept of what honey looks like, how it feels and what it does. Ya gotta love the bees for this! Now I know why the bears find it so irresistible. 🙂 This experience certainly gives a added meaning to the word pure!

  • 3 Sheila // Oct 14, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this “bee liqour” (btw, love that!). I stayed in at a really cool rainforest B&B near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and they had this yummy honey. I even recognized the label. I showed your post to my hubby and he remembered it, too. When we got back home we tried looking for something like it, but never found any. Now that you’ve provided all the info on this honey, we may just have to order some. 🙂

  • 4 Evelyn // Oct 14, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Hey Sheila! I love that definition! Never let it be said that the Hawaiians don’t have a way with words! 🙂 Wasn’t it the weirdest thing to try the honey and discover it to be so different yet still be honey?!? Like I said, I don’t know how to define it. All I know is that I am darn proud of them for keeping this business up and running and making the products available to consumers! I like getting products direct from the source and I plan on skipping the stores for my next purchase.

  • 5 HawaiiVacationGifts // Oct 15, 2007 at 12:45 am

    Hi Evelyn,
    My sales rep also represents Volcano Island Honey. It is so popular that they always run out, so if you see it buy it!! Even though it is probably the most expensive honey made, once you taste it you don’t want to eat any other honey!

  • 6 Evelyn // Oct 15, 2007 at 5:05 am

    Thank you, Cheryl! I’m not surprised that there’s a sales rep out there who knows a good thing when they see it! 🙂 I agree that you wouldn’t want to go back to processed after having the genuine article. (Pinching a quote from the beekeeper, “I know you will agree, the extra patience, work and love of our ohana have produced something very special.” Richard Spiegel, Beekeeper) I think we agree!

  • 7 Felicity // Oct 16, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Aloha… I just happen to come across your site and was ever so happy to see it… I was in Hawaii for the first time in January of this year. Though we were staying on the Big Island… of course done the touristy things… All I wanted when I got there was to be ‘leid’ (is that how it is spelt? of course it sounds rude – heehee) and was at the hotel… we done just about everything there was to do… to Mauna Kea and down to a submarine ride… for hubbies birthday I bought him a ticket to fly over to go to Pearl Harbour. We were only there for the day but do wish we had a lot longer there. Even went up to ‘Punchbowl’. Though that was one time I wish we had a car! Still, it was worth it an more. Look forward to getting back to HI one day… maybe… take care and will drop in again for sure…

  • 8 Evelyn // Oct 16, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Thank you, Felicity, for stopping by. I’m glad you made it to Oahu for a moment or two. 🙂 Punchbowl is a very sobering place. Clean, neat, beautiful view, and oh the emotional drama. You’re a step ahead of me… I was born and raised here and have never been to the Arizona memorial. Bad girl! I will. Soon. Now I have a reason to do so. Please do come back whenever you can, and bring your munchkins! Kudos and good luck on the adoption!

  • 9 www.foodthatheal.info » Found Me a Sweet Honey to Bee with Me! // Oct 16, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    […] Evelyn wrote a fantastic post today on “Found Me a Sweet Honey to Bee with Me!” Here’s ONLY a quick extract… 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. … […]

  • 10 Honokaa Kango // Nov 12, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Oh. My. God. You’ve just sent me into a veritable craving SEIZURE! I must have some of this!!

    I make it to Hawaii every chance I get (doesn’t everyone?), and the Big Island is my favorite. Specifically, I like to stay in Honokaa — it’s such a quaint, historic little town. . . and I’ll bet they have this on the shelves! If not, be assured I’ll seek it out.

    Meanwhile, I’m in a coffee house on the mainland, so I guess I’ll settle for whatever honey-laced confection they have.

  • 11 Evelyn // Nov 12, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    LOL! Hello Kango, I’m glad you had that reaction. Not that I would want you to have a seizure but, I love hearing enthusiasm… especially when it’s about food! The honey is good stuff. I’ve even tried it as jelly on a peanut butter and honey sandwich. It worked quite nicely! Less messy too! 🙂 It may be limited to a few specialty stores but their mail order works quite nicely!

  • 12 Let’s Go Christmas Shopping! // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    […] back home again, we have to be sure and mention these worker bees! You guys know how I fell in love with these bees! I could not make a shopping list and fail to mention the glory of these honey makers for the Christmas holidays! […]

  • 13 Sheila // Mar 28, 2008 at 4:27 am

    I brought home a jar of this honey from my recent Big Island visit. Yay!

    I heard that unfortunately, the Bee Keeper lost many of his trees last fall from a fire, so he’s had to close down all his mainland sales accounts. So, if you want some of this special and rare honey (now even more difficult to find) you’d better snatch some up when you see it.

  • 14 Evelyn // Mar 28, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Thank you, Sheila, for sharing that! I didn’t know they lost so much! Oh dear! It can be hard to get, depending on where you are, but this news doesn’t help! I know they’ll come through it but I’m sure it will take some time.

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