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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wildflower honey (fleurs sauvages), Api M.D., Mansonville, Québec, Canada

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!


  1. Hello from NZ,I have just found your really interesting blog ! I would love to beable to taste all the honies you mention but no bee related product is allowed into NZ due to disease etc. We still don`t have many of the problems other countries have, so want to protect our honey industry as long as we can.We export honey, most of our lovely manuka honey goes overseas, also send our bees to Canada at the end of our season, being a natural bee carer, this is a practice I don`t agree with ! I am reading Elizabth Gowing`s book at the moment - really enjoying it ! I will be back . .

  2. Hello Marcia- and glad you like the blog. I had no idea that NZ had the bee product restrictions you mentioned. To get a taste of honey from other places, you'll just have to go out and get it :) (and I guess eat it all before you head home!) Although, given that NZ produces some of the best honey in the world, you may be happy with what you find locally. You'll have to explain why NZ sends its bees to Canada after the season. It seems a long way to go and how do they cope with Canadian weather?

  3. Hello Thalie, I found your blog to be very interesting. Have you tried any honies from Israel? I produce honey from Nazareth and would love that you review it.
    I'll be reading you!

    Ps: you can visit my website at

  4. Hello Noga- I'm glad you found my blog! I have not tried any honeys from Israel but would love to. I visited your lovely website and see that you produce star thistle honey. I have had it, but from a Canadian apiarist (see blog post from January 2012). I'd be very interested in seeing if the taste varies (as I suspect) from place to place. I'll contact you on your website!