This past October I went to the Topsfield fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts. It is an agricultural fair that begin in 1818 "to promote and improve the agricultural interests of farmers and others in Essex County." Nearly 200 years later it is going strong with lots to do and see. If you like fancy chickens, fuzzy sheep, large pumpkins, and pig races, to name a few attractions, it is the place to be! They also have a great website in case you want to know more about it.
|Poultry at Topsfield Fair|
Needless to say, the fair also has a Beekeeping and Honey Show which has the distinction of being the largest honey exhibit in any fair in North America (according to the Topsfield fair website). It is one of the oldest too, with the first exhibit taking place in 1844. Since 1928 the show has been operated and sponsored by the Essex County Beekeepers Association. This beekeepers association is a regional organization of beekeepers large and small who are generally found in and around Essex county, a country in the northeastern corner of Massachusetts. They educate the public about bees and beekeeping, promote the art of apiculture, and produce bees, honey and related products. At the fair they had four observation hives (very cool) and beekeepers on hand to explain all things bee, honey and beekeeping. They also had lots of honey and honey related items on display and for sale. I came home with two jars of honey and some beeswax.
|Essex County Beekeepers Association Honey Competition|
The honey I bought was a raw, wildflower honey. In my experience you can't go wrong with wildflower honey. It generally is a interesting honey that can be quite complicated, with layers of flavors and aromas. Although both jars I have are wildflower, given the color of each I suspect that they were collected at different times of the year. I have a very light, clear jar and a reddish/amber jar, which I think were collected in spring and summer, respectively. The wildflower honey for this review is the darker, potentially summer honey.
Given the amber color and the opacity, because of particulate matter, I thought this honey would be thick, but in fact it is medium-thin in consistency. In small quantities it has a lovely amber yellow glow. It is very smooth, not very sweet and has a very light, floral flavor, which is fresh with a hint of citrus or menthol. If honey was a morning, this would be a clear morning with a fresh, gentle breeze and a warm sun. It would be very tasty in a hot cup of black tea, in plain, thick yoghurt, or on hot buttered toast- pretty well anywhere where a light, floral honey might be needed.
|Pure Wildflower Honey, Essex County Beekeepers Association|