From spring through fall, honeybees gather flower nectar and bring it home, where their hivemates turn the sugary solution into honey to feed the colony. Because the bees visit flowers only within a few hundred yards of the hive, and they tend to stick to one type of bud when foraging, beekeepers can typically identify with some accuracy where the nectar is coming from. The extraordinary diversity in color, aroma, consistency and flavor of honey comes from the different pigments, aromatic substances and sugar concentrations of those plants. There’s no such thing as honey that’s purely from one kind of flower; but even with a little nectar from other plants, “monofloral” honeys are often clear expressions of specific blossoms, varying slightly from year to year or over the course of a season due to weather and environmental conditions. Clover, a common variety, is light in color and mild in flavor; whereas buckwheat, a varietal for which New York is especially known, is generally very dark, almost purple-brown or black, and distinctly malty. Wildflower honey, meanwhile, is naturally mixed by honeybees that forage from many different blooms—some beekeepers even intervene, creating their own special blends.
Local honey: How it's made, from hive to jar
Take a virtual tour of the Brooklyn Grange Apiary to see the hives, bees and production of local honey.