One of the benefits of living in the Willamette Valley is the springtime splendor of farm fields all around us, like this field just outside of Albany, off Bryant Drive.
The bike and I stopped on Monday for a couple of pictures. It’s a big field of meadowfoam, if I’m not mistaken. And a bit farther along the road, a dozen or more hives were set out so that the bees would have easy access to this seemingly endless supply of nectar.
The hives belong to Old Blue Raw Honey, a small company based in Philomath. It’s an interesting operation, as I learned from its website. You can read all about it here. Honey derived from meadowfoam is said to have kind of a vanilla flavor. You can test it if you order some, which you can do on the same site.
Back in the 1980s, or thereabouts, I remember meadowfoam being touted as a replacement crop for grass seed so that valley farmers would no longer have to do so much field burning after the harvest. It never caught on in a big way, and because of laws enacted 20 years ago, seasonal field burning has all but disappeared anyway.
But as this big white field illustrates, meadowfoam has its beneficial uses. First there’s the oil extracted from its seeds. Then there’s the honey that bees produce from its nectar. And of course, there’s the splendid scenery that people can enjoy as they drive or ride past. (hh)