Heather Honey

In the late summer the North Yorkshire Moors are a picture with heather in full bloom. This provides local beekeepers with their last harvest of the season. There are two main types of heather plants growing on the moors; the earlier flowering bell heather (Erica species) and ling (Caluna vulgaris) which flowers in August and September. It is the ling which produces the famous strong tasting dark brown honey with a gelled consistency and entrapped air bubbles. The moors are very popular and beekeepers travel great distances to let their bees forage the heather. Moving hives of bees this far and fetching them back a few weeks later can be fraught. And the moors, even in August, can suffer poor weather with especially cold nights so heather honey crops are rarely substantial.

The jelly-like consistency of heather honey makes it difficult to remove from the honeycomb and special techniques are needed. This difficulty in harvesting, transport, and small yields mean that heather honey commands a higher price than all other local honeys.

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