ABC is a project of nonprofit Appalachian Headwaters I Read More

Appalachian Sourwood Honey
Appalachian Sourwood Honey

Appalachian Sourwood Honey


Appalachian sourwood honey is one of the most prized honeys in the world. Compared to our bold Appalachian Honey, the Sourwood has a remarkably delicate flavor profile, characterized by anise and spice. Sourwood honey’s flavor is so remarkable, it regularly wins the Apimonda world champion honey contests and is highly coveted by food connoisseurs throughout the world.

How does it taste? Chef Paul Smith says: “Appalachian Beekeeping Collective sour wood honey may be the best honey I have ever tasted. When I tasted the first spoon It brought me back to the first time I gently pulled the stem and touched my tongue to the nectar bead of the honey suckle flower on my grandfathers honey suckle vine. There is nothing better than smells and flavors to spark vivid memories. My immediate second memory is the first time I tasted Hungarian Tokaji dessert wine. With good acidity, freshness, balance, intensity and great aromatic complexity with floral essences, along with hints of peaches and ripe plums. The honey flavors are complex, reminiscent and of quince, caramel and nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts.” - Chef Paul Smith, Charleston, West Virginia

2020 and 2021 were bonanzas for sourwood in central Appalachia. Under favorable conditions like this, the nectar is so abundant, it can be shaken from the blooms in small drops. But sourwood honey is often in short supply because the nectar is inconsistent from year to year. Sourwood trees have a short blooming season, and nectar flow is highly impacted by changes in rainfall and temperature. We are fortunate that ABC partners keep their bees in the relatively undeveloped forests of West Virginia and southwestern Virginia -- an area covered with well-established sourwood trees. In other parts of the Southeast, sourwood honey is increasingly difficult to find because of deforestation and development.

ABC partners’ careful beekeeping is required to avoid diluting the sourwood honey with other nectars growing before and after the sourwood blossoms.

All of our delicious raw honey is produced by more than 100 local beekeepers in the forested mountains of Appalachia. We protect the bees, beekeepers, and our ecosystem by using no synthetic chemicals or antibiotics in any part of our process.

The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is a project of Appalachian Headwaters, a non-profit organization working to restore formerly mined forest land and to bring jobs to the mountains of Appalachia. We recruit, educate, and support beekeepers in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, creating sustainable income for local communities. Learn more about the project here.