Local Bounty: June 10
Queen Bee of San Diego
Cinnamon Infused Honey
We’re used to thinking about wine varietals. Now we have raw honey varietals. I found Rachel Adams of San Diego Honey Company at her booth at the Solana Beach Farmers Market a couple of Sunday afternoons ago. She doesn’t have her own hives (although her family does in England), but she “curates” premium honeys from local beekeepers and blends some of them with flavorings that enhance their profiles.
Most shoppers who simply pick up a jar of honey at the supermarket don’t realize how varied honeys can taste, depending on the source of the pollen. Doing a tasting with Adams or any honey vendor changes that. For instance, my first taste with Adams was of the Rancho Santa Fe Wildflower Honey, which had light tones and a corresponding mild flavor. Then came the San Diego Wildflower Honey, which was deeper in color and flavor, and more robust. Next was a favorite of mine from other honey vendors—Buckwheat Blossom. This version is richly satisfying with its very mellow, deep tones. Then I tasted several of her infused honeys as well as her Pollen Plus. All these, along with her Rachel’s Really Good Jams and something she calls Blackcurrant Bliss, a black currant and honey juice concentrate, can be found at the Solana Beach Farmers Market and Daily Harvest Market, the fruit and veggie stand inside Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas. As of June 13, Specialty Produce will carry her Cinnamon Extract Infused Honey.
Here are some stand outs:
San Diego Wildflower Honey
This dark, full-bodied honey is a great general use honey and also perfect for cooking. Drizzle it on cheese, add it to sauces, spread it on a muffin or toast, add to yogurt with fresh berries. $9 for the squeezable bear or $10 for a glass jar, both 12-ounces.
Ginger Lemon Infused Honey
You’d think this combination would be spicy and acidic. In fact, it’s quite mellow and really perfect on toast and sweet bread, like date nut or apple. I picked up a whole wheat “bisquit” at Northgate Market last week and drizzled this on the warmed biscuit. Utterly divine. $9 for the squeezable bear or $10 for a glass jar, both 12 ounces.
Cinnamon Extract Infused Honey
If you enjoy cinnamon in your coffee, this is the way to add it. Instead of getting the often bitter flavor of ground cinnamon, Adams blends organic cinnamon bark extract into her local wildflower honeys. The result is a pure smooth cinnamon flavor. Drizzle it into yogurt, or over pancakes/waffles/French toast. $11 for the squeezable bear or $12 for a glass jar, both 12 ounces.
Pollen Plus Honey
Pollen Plus is an intriguing concept. Bee pollen, of course, is popular with people who believe it helps alleviate pollen allergies. But it needs to be easily digestible. Adams blends fragile bee pollen pellets into honey. The honey preserves the pollen and its slightly acidic pH breaks it down so that the pollen is more easily digestible. Whether medical evidence is behind this is up to you to research, but in any case, this is a delightful tasting honey, which combines the San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe wildflower varieties with the bee pollen. Rich and almost shouting “HONEY,” it is fantastic in a smoothie, coffee or tea, or in a fruit compote. $10 for a 10-ounce glass jar.