We collect our delectable Fireweed Honey – known to beekeepers as “the Champagne of Honeys” – from the mountains around our beautiful Creston Valley. On one side of us is the Purcell Mountains, and on the other, the Selkirks. Both ranges abound with this native purple plant, which grows in areas disturbed by fire or logging. When found In large quantities it allows our bees to collect enough nectar to produce an unique, very light, mild, buttery honey.
Our signature Kootenay Wildflower Honey comes from alfalfa, clover, snowberry and other plants. But our Fireweed Honey is virtually a monofloral honey. Given where it grows, Fireweed is by default just about the only food available for our honey bees. Sometimes there will be incidental Goldenrod or Creeping Thistle, but these plants are sparse in comparison to the vast acreages of Fireweed.
We truck our hives high up into the mountains and place them where little else grows except our prized Fireweed. This is also bear country, where both the Grizzly and Black Bears roam. So we have to build electrified yards to protect our bees and their crop from Mr. and Mrs. Bruin.
This honey is notoriously difficult to collect. The weather has to be just right, not too hot and not to cool. The fireweed patch also has to be young. As the area gets older succession trees such as alder and replanted conifers start to take over and claim water resources for their own growth. The season is also short; a typical collection period lasts only a month.
We don’t get Fireweed Honey every year, so be sure to buy it when we have it available!