Saturday, November 22, 2014

How is Orange Blossom Honey Harvested?

I’ve always loved Orange Blossom Honey.  And it’s not just me, Orange Blossom Honey is generally considered one of the best honeys in the world.  It’s a lightly colored honey described as having a “well rounded” sweetness.  The sweetness is on the milder side and not overwhelming, which means it complements many different types of food.  In fact, I’ve heard beekeepers say that it’s tough to recommend a specific use for Orange Blossom Honey, because it goes so well with pretty much everything.

A beautiful orange blossom.

The best part of the Orange Blossom Honey is the aroma and subtle citrus flavor.  If you’ve ever been in Florida during the citrus bloom, the smell of orange blossom honey will transport you right back to springtime in Florida.

But how is Orange Blossom Honey harvested?  Can you only get it from beekeepers that live near orange groves?   Do the bees and the grove workers live together in harmony year round?

Hard working honey bee

The answer is actually quite surprising: Beekeepers load up all of their bees onto a truck and transport them to the orange groves for the four weeks that the orange blossoms are in bloom.  Bees are opportunistic foragers and usually gather pollen from a variety of plants, so beekeepers have to put the hives right in the middle of a big orange grove if they want the bees to stick to the orange blossoms.

Be careful beekeepers!

The beekeepers pack up the beehives around dusk when all of the foragers are back in the hive and load them onto trucks and trailers before transporting them to the orange groves.  Each beehive can hold up to 50,000 bees, so one truck will literally be carrying millions of bees.

Let’s just hope those beekeepers are safe drivers. A regular car accident is scary enough without a swarm of angry bees adding to the chaos. Just make sure that if you see a big truck leaving an orange grove in the spring, you get out of the way!

The delicious results of all that work.

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