Honey Journal #22
Name: Oregon Growers and Shippers, Blackberry Honey. Raw and Unfiltered.
You can buy it: Roth’s Food Markets in Oregon or on the Internet here.
Country: Oregon, USA
Flavor: Warm cotton candy with slight hints of blackberry
Consistency: Atomic and very grainy.
Fragrance: Very faint chocolate milk, but I’m reaching.
This the kind of honey that you’d find in Granny’s kitchen. The scene goes something like this: you come into town for a visit. At breakfast, while Granny is off at her water aerobics class at the Y, you make yourself breakfast. You look for something to put on your toasting English muffin. You find this honey on the pantry shelf behind the Cream of Rice. You carve a teaspoon out of the jar and spread it over a top of the muffin. The honey melts into the Smart Balance and you’re very happy. When Granny comes home, you find out that she bought the honey in 1964 and forgot that she still had it. Doesn’t matter. Like Granny, it hasn’t aged.
Since it’s a monofloral honey, obviously raw and unfiltered, I really wanted to find those blackberries. I did, but not in the obvious, “wow” sort of way I was hoping. When I thought about it I realized that blackberries really aren’t really a “taste me!” kind of berry. They’re pretty subtle in the best of circumstances, often leaning to the tart. They make great pies and jams but they need the help of a lot of sugar and, in the case of the pie, a great crust.
I picked up this honey in Salem, Oregon where my parents live. I was there to celebrate my dad’s birthday. My parents live in a lovely ranch house on a bend in the Willamette River which this time of year, flooded with the winter rains and mountain runoff, is fast moving and about an eighth of a mile wide. Right now, from their patio window I can see ducks landing in the water. The current is so swift that when they land against the current, they are immediately swept down river. It’s funny to see: the ducks flying in hell bent for leather and just as fast carried backwards by the river. Nature stages these vaudeville sketches (wart hogs bouncing over the plains of the Masai Mara would be another example) all the time. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to appreciate them.
My mother is a certified master gardener, so in the summer her small garden is a bouquet of flowers and vegetables, but now, in the early spring, is pretty drab, except for the jonquils which have popped up sunny yellow. The cotton, oak and fruit trees are still naked. There is no suggestion that in six weeks they’ll all be covered in young green leaves.
There are advantages to this: the view of the river and the wild life is unobstructed. I was up early this morning and out in the backyard. It was like Times Square at rush hour. Everybody was moving – finches at the feeder, squirrels jumping from branch to branch, robins digging up worms, woodpeckers drilling for bugs, ducks bobbing in the river, geese foraging in the grass. And everybody was talking, especially the geese, who honk, like a Lima, Peru cab driver, at the slightest excuse.
Back to our honey: It’s so dense that it would probably last the normal honey user a year and easily longer. That’s a good thing. Every honey collection needs a honey like this one — earthy, dependable, solid and, let us not forget, sweet.