East Yorkshire is particularly fortunate that for the last ten years or so borage has been grown by a considerable number of farmers. You may well have seen the fields of blue flowers from late June until early August.
Borage (Borago officianalis) is grown for its small black seeds which are harvested and crushed to make borage oil, or starflower oil, which has similar properties to evening primrose oil. The oil is very valuable and farmers and beekeepers have a mutually beneficial relationship; we get lots of honey and farmers get increased yields as their flowers are pollinated by our bees.
Beekeepers travel with their bees from far afield but we are lucky as the fields are often within flying range of our apiaries or, if not, it’s not too far to take them. If the summer is particularly hot, a hive of bees can collect prodigious quantities of honey from the borage. Farmers like one hive for every acre so that there are sufficient bees to pollinate all the flowers. A large number of bees is necessary as each of the flowers opens for just one day. It’s a wonderful sight (and sound) with the bees working flat out from dawn till dusk
Borage honey, with its very distinctive clear appearance, has a subtle aromatic aroma and has rapidly become a favourite honey in this area.