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Monday, October 4, 2010

(Wildflower Blossom) Kauai Island Honey, Kilauea, Hawaii

A jar of Kauai Island Honey from Hawaii came to me a few years ago from a friend who was visiting Honolulu for the summer. It is produced by Danbury apiaries. A quick search online to find out more about them landed me a great article about Chester Danbury, the apiculturist and owner of Danbury apiaries; His operation has over 400 working hives and produces more than 50,000 pounds of honey a year, and is regarded as one of the larger honey operations in Hawaii. It seems that Hawaii's tropical climate produces 4 or 5 harvesting seasons; Bees don't need to rely so much on honey to carry them through the year so honey can be harvested more frequently. Peak harvest months are June through October.

I also found out that Danbury's bees are home grown. He didn't buy them (as is common) but caught them all. Can you imagine? I wish I lived closer to Kauai Island because I think I'd like to meet this guy.

If you want to learn more about honey production on Kauai Island here is the link to the article:

I had to google Kauai Island to find out exactly where it is. The official tourist website claims it is 'a tropical garden island paradise' that is 20 minutes by air from Honolulu. It is 550 square miles and the northernmost of the main Hawaiian islands. From the site it does sound like Paradise. There are places like 'coconut coast' where you can kayak. Or, if you'd rather, you can sun on endless white sand beaches, or see spectacular cliffs, or snorkel, or see natural lava tube formations, or visit freshwater lagoons or wildlife sanctuaries. You pick. It sure beats lugging groceries home from Stop & Shop on a windy, rainy, October day in New England. But I digress.

Of note, Kauai Island is also known as the first place Captain James Cook landed in Hawaii, at Waimea on the west side of the island in 1778 (why he ever left is mystery to me), and Lumahai Beach on the North shore is where Mitzi Gaynor 'washed that man right out of her hair' in the movie South Pacific.

The honey I have say's 'wildflower blossom' on the label. Not sure what wildflowers they are talking about, but likely a blend. From the article they mentioned 'Christmasberry honey' from Christmasberry bushes and described them as a delicacy. I've never heard of this bush but honey from them is reputed to also have medicinal properties. I have to say that having read about Christmasberry honey, I'm a little sad to have only wildflower blossom honey.

This honey has been sitting in my pantry for a few years and in that time it has started to crystallize. I notice that not all honey crystallizes in the same way. This Kauai Island honey crystallized in a layer at the top of the jar and in a layer at the bottom of the jar, with a layer of liquid honey between them. In its liquid state it is a dark, deep brown honey. It smells like molasses. The top crystals are very fine and make a smooth cloudy sheet. On first taste the top crystals' texture is very interesting. The honey crystals stay together in a gummy mass but as they melt there is a burst of mintiness followed by a molasses taste. Very interesting! The liquid honey is very thin and runny, and in small quantities is golden brown. It has a strong molasses taste from beginning to end. The bottom crystals are much more granular, but also have that molasses taste. Wow! If this is their run of the mill wildflower blossom honey, I wonder what Christmasberry honey taste like? I just might have to fly over to Kauai Island and find out (and also meet Mr. Danbury and find out what kind of man catches his own bees)!


  1. I just met the owner as he came in from kiteboarding. I'd been shooting pictures of him for an hour and offered to send him the good pictures. He declined with thanks and came back 20 minutes later with some honey for us! It is amazing! We chatted about his bees and love of the islands. Anyway, he is a wonderful person and creates a superior product!

  2. Thanks for posting a comment! Great to hear that Chester Danbury is as charming in person as he is on paper. I wish I had been there!