Honey Around the World: Second Stop California

California Gold: Black Sage Honey

The next time you sit down for a meal, you may want to thank the honey bee. September is Honey Month. This week, we’re taking you to California to learn about a rare honey: Black Sage Honey.

More than 2.5 million honey bee colonies in the United States pollinate an estimated $15 billion in crops annually. Because of California’s key role in agriculture production, 1.8 million colonies are used for that state’s crop pollination. Migratory beekeepers from neighboring states truck bees to California to help with this pollination.

While California produces a wide variety of honey, the rarest is made from black sage.

The family of sage plants originated in the Mediterranean and has spread through North America. But the Black Sage plants (also known as Salvia Mellifera) is only found in California. A wild, highly aromatic desert plant, Black Sage is an evergreen shrub found tucked between the coastal ranges and the Sierra Nevada.

Light, mild and herbaceous, Black Sage Honey is a rare jewel of nature. A tricky balance of the perfect amount of rain at the perfect time for there to be enough Black Sage flowers for the bees to produce honey. This happens only a few times a decade, making Black Sage Honey a rare and unique wonder of nature.

Black Sage honey’s delicious, decidedly sweet flavor makes it a perfect pairing with savory dishes and strong cheeses. Although it is thicker than regular honey, it’s still pourable and easy to work with for recipes, making it a favorite among home cooks.