Eat Local Spotlight: Honey

Bee Sweet and Local


Bee Amazing!

Passionate about finding a way to ensure the amazing organic honey produced by her fourth generation beekeeper husband Garnett Puett remained pure and undiluted, Whendi Grad took matters into her own hands and founded Big Island Bees. With bees that produce about 600,000 pounds of honey annually, this family-owned and operated company is now one of the most prolific suppliers of Hawaiian honey in the nation.

One of the characteristics that makes the honey from Big Island Bees so special is that each variety is made purely from the nectar of one Hawaii island flower: ohia lehua, macadamia nut, or wilekaiki (Christmas berry). Bees won’t travel far from the hive area if they can find nectar to feed on nearby, so Garnett locates his hives in remote locations where the specific flowers are in abundance. This helps ensure the honey comes from a single type of flower and showcases the unique flavor of the nectar. And because Big Island Bees doesn’t heat, filter, or blend its organic honey, the product doesn’t lose its antioxidants or beneficial enzymes.

Garnett also takes great care of his bees. Although Hawaii’s mild climate keeps flowers blooming throughout the year, he doesn’t harvest during the winter months so that his bees can rest and enjoy their honey themselves!

Sweet Talk
Here are a few more things you might not know about honey.

• Let it Bee! When sealed airtight, honey never spoils. In fact, unlike the bees that produce it, honey has an eternal life.

• That’s My Honey – Your favorite honey may depend on taste and what types you’ve tried. As Whendi explains, “There are probably more than 300 types of honey produced in the U.S.” and looks can be deceiving. Interestingly, according to Whendi, paler honeys are just as rich and intensely flavored as darker ones.

• Bee-u-tiful! Whendi loves giving herself a regular honey facial and says that honey’s moisture-attracting and antiseptic properties really hydrate and cleanse the skin. “After you wash your face, apply the honey,” she instructs, “then rinse off in the shower. It gives your skin a beautiful glow!”

• White Knight – Big Island Bees’ most distinctive product is the creamy white honey from the ohia lehua blossom. The unique color and texture are a result of this flower’s nectar to crystallize quickly. It must be extracted from the comb and packed quickly to be workable. The result is a wonderful, spreadable treat – perfect on toast!

• To Bee or Not to Bee – Wondering whether you should incorporate honey into your diet? Consider this: honey is the only food that contains all the substances necessary to sustain life – including water.

jars of honey

Did You Know?
bee in lehua flower

Although a single honeybee will produce only 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, a typical beehive makes up to 400 pounds of honey per year. To make one pound of honey, the bees in a colony must visit 2 million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles. So enjoy your honey because it is the result of much hard work from hundreds of busy bees!


goat cheese and honey

Watch How to Make It

Goat Cheese with Local Honey

Rich, earthy goat cheese contrasts with mellow, sweet Island honey in this ultra-simple appetizer.
  • 1 4-ounce goat cheese log
  • 2 tablespoons Big Island Bees honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh local basil
  • 1 orange
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. Using a piece of unflavored dental floss, slice goat cheese into medallions, approximately one-quarter inch thick and shingle on plate.
  2. Drizzle with honey.  Zest one-quarter of an orange over cheese.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with basil. Enjoy on your favorite cracker or baguette slices.

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orange sign

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