What does Albuquerque taste like?

Tasting honey from my backyard

To some it's a chili-laden hot dog from The Dog House. To others, it's anything covered in chopped green from Frontier or a bowl of posole on Christmas Eve (Ay dios mio, even Rachael Ray has a posole recipe).

To the 30,000 honeybees living in my backyard, Albuquerque quite literally tastes like flowers.

This week, I harvested the first honey from my backyard beehive. Call it "Fringecrest Estate" or "SE Heights Select," my polyfloral summer vintage is fruit-forward with just a hint of astringency. Ooh la la, wait til the critics get ahold of this exquisite blend.

Or, as my man likes to remind me, you can just be honest and call it bee barf flavored quite deliciously by the lavender, catmint, and old apricot trees found in my 'hood.

Honey dipping

Albuquerque honey

Girls from my beehive

Some parts of the world taste like eucalyptus or chestnut or buckwheat. Albuquerque, I've discovered, tastes like a thousand well-tended flower gardens in the middle of the desert. An oasis.

Learn more:

How bees make honey
The European honey bee
The NM Native Bee Project
Albuquerque Urban Beekeepers

Views: 205

Comment by Jessie on July 5, 2008 at 2:28pm
And here I thought Albuquerque tasted like that mouthful of dust I get pedaling into the wind...

Congrats on your first honey!
Comment by chantal on July 5, 2008 at 2:53pm
Thank you! It's embarrassing how excited I am. Now if I can just ensure my girls survive their first winter, I'll have a shot at graduating into the ranks of bee "keepers" rather than just bee "havers."

And you know, I actually did sample some Albuquerque honey recently that was rescued from a parapet where bees had decided to nest. Now that honey did actually taste somewhat dusty ;-) Delicious, but dusty.
Comment by Lady Noodle on July 5, 2008 at 8:34pm
Succulent photos and description of that honey's flavor. YUM! This weekend, putting in a soaker hose, I wrestled with a russian sage. I didn't know how great they smelled, like catmint.. bees seem to love it too. Congratulations on your first harvest!
Comment by ABQSkippy on July 5, 2008 at 9:52pm
Wow. This was way cool. Nice pics, too. Good luck getting through the winter.
Comment by chantal on July 5, 2008 at 10:05pm
Lady Noodle, the bees give your Russian Sage a big thumbs up. Right now they're all over the following:

Chastetree (Vitex agnus castus)
Fernbush (Chamaebatiera millifolium)
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Thanks everyone for the moral support ;-) I'm learning something every week. For example, right now the big drama in my hive is the presence of 2 swarm cells. Swarm cells mean my bees want to leave for any number of reasons (both positive and negative), but generally this time of year for a new hive swarming is a bad thing for their prospects of winter survival. Anyway, I have no idea what to do about it and am trying to keep from being a micro-manager. We'll see how I (and they) fare...
Comment by NMBeek on July 6, 2008 at 9:10am
Hey! I just got back from the mountains and discovered your post. Great post, like always.

Ain't it lucious?! :-) Nothing better than that first taste. Until I became a beekeeper I had no idea how unique and individual the honey from each hive tastes. Having grown up on the pastuerized, homogenized honey from the local grocery store I thought it was all pretty much the same. Boy, was I ever wrong! I may not have much of a wine pallet but I've developed a New Mexico honey pallet for sure!

My latest dream is wrestling with whether I want to transport a hive up to the cabin... hmmmmm.. mountain clover and wildflowers... yummmmmmmmm

As regards the swarm cells, if you have more than 10 bars of honey and bees, harvest the excess and /or move empty unpulled bars forward in the hive and put them next to the brood bars and then cut off the swarm cells. Actually, you would do the same thing if you don't have more than 10 bars of bees and honey.
Comment by Joe S Sausage on July 6, 2008 at 9:13am
hey Chantal, what is up?

do you have the native bees? How can i get a beehive for my property, i live on an acre in the far north valley, i need to have some native bees, how did you get yours?
Comment by Joe S Sausage on July 6, 2008 at 9:20am
OK, sorry about that Chantal, i got a little crazy thinking about the honey i could get frommy imaginary hive, here's what i should be asking, how much time and attention does a hive require? i'll go the the beekeepers group to find out more, thanks!
Comment by NMBeek on July 6, 2008 at 9:24am
It is a bit late in the season for you to get started this year, Joe, but I encourage you to join the Urban Beekeepers group on DCF and you can get lots of help from other local beekeepers in getting a good start for next season. If you were to start a new hive today it would be very "iffy" whether they could get well enough established to overwinter successfully.
Comment by chantal on July 6, 2008 at 9:31am
Mr. Sausage,

You need to get in touch with this guy: Tomas, the BioPark Beekeeper. Not only does he keep bees at the BioPark, but he's got 10 or so hives just down the street from your shop. Email him. He'd probably LOVE to make a trade or simply show you around his hives.


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