No visit is complete when we visit my in-laws' cottage on lake Memphramagog in the Eastern Townships of Québec without a walk to Jewett's store. The cottage is in Vale Perkins, which, as far as I can tell, means it is within walking distance of Jewett's. There isn't any semblance of a town or anything called Vale Perkins. There is no sign "entering" Vale Perkins. It is just a dot on a map that corresponds to the crossroads where you'll find Jewett's store. It is too bad the town isn't called Jewett's because then it would be less confusing.
Jewett's is a common name in the region. As you make your way from Mansonville (the closest real town with a post office and everything) to Vale Perkins you pass quite a few farms owned by different Jewett's. I know that when I start seeing wooden signs with the name Jewett's on them I'm not far from the lake or the cottage.
Jewett's store is a sight to behold and well worth the walk, even on a sweltering, hot day. Although their stock may have changed over the years, the store probably hasn't since before the beginning of time. It is a throwback to dry goods stores in the wild west. The floors are made of weathered wide-planked oak and creak when you walk on them. Shelves line every wall, and every nook is full of something. It is a testimony to efficient use of space. They have it all: from fresh eggs, to local cheeses, cake mixes, snorkels and fireworks. If Jewett's doesn't have it, you probably don't need it.
This past visit, on the road to Vale Perkins, I noticed bee hives (see below). When I did my pilgrimage to Jewett's I asked about them and Ms. Jewett showed me a shelf behind the cash where they stock local honey, saying she had some of it for sale. I picked wild flower. [There were a few other varieties but I'll save them for future visits.]
The apiarist is "Api M.D." and apart from saying the honey is wildflower, a product of Québec and out of Mansonville, the label doesn't give any other information. I searched online to get more but came up empty.
On a hike in the area, I looked for wildflowers. Here is what I found. Don't ask me if I know the names of anything, I don't. On a few flowers I saw honey bees, so it looks like I was in the right place.
The honey itself is a very runny, clear, slightly orange honey. It is very thin and takes a bit of effort to get any to stay on a toothpick long enough to sample. It has a very smooth taste. It is very sweet and has a floral undertone, and then it melts and is gone. There are no complicated flavors, it is just pure throughout. If you need a very runny honey- to spread on something or drip into tea, this is a good choice. The flavor is subtle and may add to an herbal tea (like camomile) but won't overpower whatever you add it to. As far as I know you can only get it at Jewett's store; take note: it is on a shelf, behind the cash in the front.
On this visit to Jewett's I also got another honey from "Cousin Bob" in Ontario (a cousin of the Jewett's who has a bed and breakfast and apiary). In the same time frame I was asked by a fellow blogger, and honey-phile, Elizabeth Gowing if I might like to guest blog on her site. She is an intrepid writer, traveler, beekeeper, and adventurer, and I couldn't say yes to her fast enough (!) She showcases honey and honey recipes and I used Bob's honey (a very good quality table honey) in a comforting tea recipe from Najmieh Batmanglij’s wonderful cookbook “Silk Road Cooking, A Vegetarian Journey.” Check out Elizabeth's blog, 100 days of honey and see my guest blog spot. Be prepared for some exotic honey recipes!