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Vermont Honey: “The Best Tasting Honey in the World”

By Brooke Decker, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

The Vermont brand is widely known. Vermont honey is no different, as it has been long revered and highly sought after. As with other Vermont craft industry products, Vermont honey has unique characteristics that one can appreciate at first taste and complex enough to develop a passionate following.

This is the case with Genevieve and Rick Drutchas, of Bee Haven Honey Farm in Worcester, Vermont. Rick, who was the Vermont state apiculturist in the 1980s, greatly enjoys tasting different honeys from around the state and the world. As beekeepers, they focus on making delicious honey and recognizing the Terroir of each season’s harvest.

The Drutchases recently entered some of their raw honey into a honey tasting contest hosted by the Center for Honeybee Research. Hundreds of beekeepers from all over the world enter this contest each year, in hopes of winning the title of “Best Tasting Honey in the World”. The contest is quite comprehensive and rigorous. Some honey judging is based on perfection, this contest, judges the honey based solely on taste of the honey.

In what Rick describes as a surprising moment, the Bee Haven Honey Farm was awarded the highly coveted 2022 World’s Best Tasting Honey award.

“It’s the diversity of landscape and floral resources that make Vermont honey so flavorful. The geological history and land use in the region, combined with the honeybee management and the handling of the honey during extraction/bottling that contribute to the complex flavor profiles” Genevieve says.

Bee Haven Honey Farm specializes in Old World Style honey. This unheated, unfiltered, and minimally processed honey has a much more complex flavor profile than the commercially packed honey. When honey is heated, ultrafiltered, and commercially processed it remains liquid for extended time. While this may be visually appealing for retail store shelves, much of the flavor and benefits of honey are lost in the overprocessing.

Raw honey has much to offer the consumer. People who try raw honey for the first time often describe a different much more tantalizing tasting experience. Due to the natural crystallization of the raw honey, mouthfeel becomes part of the experience as well. 

There are ways that people can help save the bees.  Among them is to support a local Vermont beekeeper by purchasing raw honey. Seeking out local honey that is crystalized and maybe even has a little bit of wax floating on the top supports Vermont’s unique quality and brand and allows our beekeepers to continue the important work of fostering our local bee populations.

A huge congratulations to Rick and Genevieve on their win and for their continued support of the Vermont raw honey production.

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