Woodside Honey


Several small colonies of bees can be found on a portion of our old family farm and namesake. Built in 1848 and standing proudly as the oldest home in Maplewood, Missouri it is notably listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Beekeeping was once considered a country enterprise but with the rich multiflora sources thriving in an urban landscape, the city offers a vast and nourishing palette for exceptional honey. And while one in three bites of our food depends upon the pollination of bees, urban beekeepers are contributing greatly to this process as an alarming number of bees are dying due to pesticides used in conventional farming, among other causes. Urban beekeeping is a niche practice throughout the United States and Europe where colonies of honey-bees flourish in major cities such as San Francisco, Manhattan and atop the Opera House in Paris.

Woodside Honey supports responsible practices that pay homage to the cultural traditions of food and their impact on the planet. Our efforts resonate with both a rich lineage of artisans and a contemporary consciousness. We believe that buying thoughtfully grown and locally produced food is a healthier alternative and simply makes good sense.

Beginning in February as trees start to bloom, our honeybees will travel upwards of two miles in search of early nectar sources and will continue their work until Autumn's end. Honey is collected in late Spring and Fall from the colony. Surplus honey is stored by the bees in smaller frames called "supers". Once collected, these frames are then placed in a machine which uses centrifugal force to extract the raw honey. It is then lightly filtered and packaged, with spring honey lighter in hue and the Fall a warm amber due to the differences in the seasonal flora. It takes the lifetime of nearly 300 hard-working bees to collect enough nectar to produce a four once jar of honey. And among the many benefits and delectable delights of consuming local raw honey, is the belief that it is an immunity booster for people with allergies. So enjoy your Woodside Honey, thoughtfully crafted with care for you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Woodside Honey Availability

you can now purchase woodside urban honey at several more locations in st. louis:

josh allen of companion bakery has a opened a great new outlet at their baking facility; open on friday, saturday, and sunday mornings. called the "early bird outlet, it's a great place to pick up fresh bread and some honey to drizzle on it!

local harvest grocery store in kirkwood is now open, and carrying woodside honey. they are such a great supporter of fresh, local, and healthy food.

chef gerard craft has just opened pastaria restaurant in clayton and is carrying 4 oz. jars of woodside honey, along with his imported olive oil, and other great products. go eat there, they have great hand made pasta and pizza and definitely get some gelato to go!

the ritz-carlton in clayton has several cocktails on their menu featuring woodside urban honey as well.

Honey Crystallization

this year i had two distinctive crops of honey; the early spring honey was light and floral, and the later summer honey was much darker and rich tasting. both were very tasty, but what i noticed was that once bottled, it all crystallized and it did so at different rates.

honey is created from the nectar of flowers and depending upon the source,  consists of different levels of fructose, sucrose and glucose. the more glucose is saturated in the honey, the more crystallization occurs.

the lighter spring honey, once crystallized, looks almost white in the jar, because glucose crystals are white. darker honey will look slightly lighter but will still retain it's more golden color. sometimes, you will even see patches or streaks in the jar. this is just caused by crystals of glucose being drawn together into clusters. a few of my friends have asked if honey is still good when it is crystallized. the answer is yes, though it may be difficult to get out of the jar! none of this affects the quality of the honey, only the appearance.

from what i have read, this all happens more quickly when the temperature at which the honey is stored is around 60º F. just as a point of reference, the temperature within the beehive is kept at about 90º F.

gently heating the honey to about 120º F for a period of time will liquefy the honey but will not destroy the beneficial aspects. you can do this several ways, but what i do at home is remove the cap from the jar and place the bottle or container in the microwave. i heat it for about 10 seconds at a time, and check it's progress after each 10 second burst until it returns to it's fluid state.

another way to return honey to it's liquid state is to place the closed container in a shallow pan of water and heat the water on low, not exceeding 120º F. until the honey liquefied. 

then, as with all honey......just pour and enjoy!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Life Of The Bee

often, when i tell people that i belong to a beekeeping club they giggle, and i have to agree, i sort of do too. truth be told, it is one of the best things i did when i decided i wanted to become a beekeeper.

hundreds of people meet every month at the eastern missouri beekeepers association (emba) to discuss what is happening in our little world. there are all sorts of people who attend; lawyers, doctors, farmers, kids, women and men. many don't even have a hive yet, they just want to find out what to do so that when they decide to keep bees, they are prepared. i've been a beekeeper for five years now, and i often feel i know nothing, but wisdom is gained by surrounding myself with people who know more than i do, so i giggle and i learn.

i photographed one of our members, joy stinger, a year ago for a local food magazine and have stayed in touch with her ever since because she is so interesting and nice. joy has been a beekeeper for many years. she makes wine, quilts, candles, raises chickens, and sells her "stinger honey" in many of the local stores as well. joy has more energy than almost anyone i know.

recently, she loaned me a book titled, "the life of a bee". it is a beautifully illustrated book, written by maurice maeterlinck, illustrated by edward j. detmold, and translated from french by alfred sutro. originally published in 1901, this illustrated version was reprinted in 1911 in london by george allen & company.

the book is worth reading just for it's poetic observations on nature and bees, but the tipped in illustrations are what really grabbed me. i hope you enjoy these beautiful illustrations as much as i do.

in the heart of the flower
the queen



the duel of the queens

sweet peas

the comb

almond blossom

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Bee's Knee's

The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis, "Lobby Lounge"

this is the second year in a row that the lobby lounge at the ritz-carlton in st. louis has created a summer speciality cocktail menu featuring woodside urban honey. the list may be expanded, but for now there are three cocktails to choose from.

honey blossom:
goslings dark rum, orange juice, served on the rocks with a 1 oz. jar of woodside honey on the side.

bee's knee's:
gin, fresh squeezed lemon, orange juice, woodside honey

woodside honey lemonade:
jack daniels, tuaca, sour mix, woodside honey

originally the phrase "it's the bee's knee's" referred to something small and insignificant, but during the flapper and jazz age this phrase became to represent something really good. 

during this era of prohibition, the "bee's knee's" cocktail was created when the quality of bootleg gin was generally quite poor. honey and lemon were most likely used to mask the taste of really strongly flavored gin, and the subsequent smell of strong liquor on a person's breath.

thank goodness prohibition didn't last, but this classic cocktail did. over the years i have seen it on many a cocktail menu, but not until the ritz-carlton put it on their drink menu did i try it. i discovered that it is a simple and very tasty drink! 

classically, it is made with gin, lemon and honey creating essentially a gin sour but, the subtle variations of a good "bee's knee's" cocktail comes from the use of a honey with great floral notes, and nuance of botanicals found in many great gins on the market. you can experiment with your own variations, such as making a honey syrup infused with lavender or mint, or adding orange juice, but whatever you decide upon will certainly be really good on a hot summer's day!

here is a "bees knee's" cocktail recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1 oz. woodside urban honey syrup*
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ice cubes
  • cocktail shaker
  • strainer
  • martini/coupe glass
  • lemon slice as garnish
combine gin, honey syrup, lemon juice in shaker
add ice, shake vigorously for 10 seconds
strain into glass
add lemon wedge as garnish

*woodside urban honey simple syrup (makes 1/2 cup) 


1/4 cup of honey

1/4 cup of water

combine honey and water in saucepan and heat for a few minutes (do not exceed 170 degrees) until 
honey and water become a light syrup.

pour into a clean container, cover, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


i am pleased to be able to share a few photos of my bees with you. this season has been quite remarkable, with the season beginning a whole lot earlier than in previous years, the result of this long spring means the bees were able to start their honey collection much earlier and i in turn collected a lot more honey. additionally, i doubled the amount of bees i had last year too. i had to scramble a bit to keep up with their ever growing population by purchasing a lot more equipment and assembling it, but they all seem to be very happy and are out foraging from daybreak until dark.

bee's generally slow down their production in the heat of summer, as fewer pollen and nectar sources are available. just like people, they get thirsty! i find them on the ground trying to extract any moisture they can from my mulch, the droplets of water from my garden hose, and more bees use my birdbath that the birds.

i recently extracted spring honey from my hives, and have been busy bottling it to share with friends and to sell at some great businesses around town. i usually enjoy my honey drizzled over an english muffin in the morning, in some tea, or simply on a teaspoon, but i realized a great use for honey is to make a simple syrup of it and use this in a refreshing summertime cocktail. making a honey simple syrup is quite simple! mix equal parts of honey and water and heat the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes but do not let it boil. pour the syrup into a container and store it in the refrigerator. it should keep for several weeks, but why? invite friends over for honey cocktails. believe me, it won't last that long.

my friend natasha from cafe natasha's restaurant on south grand in st. louis mentioned woodside honey in her restaurant blog yesterday. she was inspired to use my honey in a bourbon drink called the, "honey i'm home" cocktail. get the recipe on her blog and go there for a great meal and cocktails on the patio!