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A Tale of Two Honeys: Mint Hill and Marshall's Farm

pane | Mar 19, 200804:53 PM

I've been going to the Alemany market about every weekend for the past year as part of a project, and finally got around to buying a little jar of honey at the Mint Hill Apiary stand a few months back.

Growing up in rural Connecticut, my uncle had his own hives and produced honey for us every year, so I never tasted commercial honey until I was in college, my uncle died, and our supplies ran out.

The honey he made was complex: rich, aggressively grassy, and decidedly seasonal. The spring honey looked and tasted different than summer honey; '92 had a different flavor than '98. After his, every honey I tried was disappointing. One note, sickly sweet, like boiled down Pepsi.

Mint Hill (summer '06) was a shocker: the punchy, grassy top note, which settled into an herby flavor, tasted quite like my uncle's honey. Mint Hill honey is made from hives located in the Castro district of San Francisco.

It was so good I ran out of honey in about three months. I needed some for a recipe and couldn't wait for market day, so I scoured the shelves at Rainbow and bought Marshall's Farm Honey, which is made in American Canyon.

I tried the "S.F. Bay Beekeeper's Blend," a mixture of honeys from around the bay. Marshall's has a deep, smooth flavor, much subtler than the Mint Hill variety I tried.

I liked them both, but preferred the singular Mint Hill, which probably was more distinctive just by nature of being produced from hives in a more limited area.

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