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Jul 15, 2007 10:34 PM

Honey Tasting in Napa?

I'm thinking of planning a quick overnight trip to Napa. (I'm reading through some of the old posts here, may ask for some info on food, wineries later . . .)

Anyway, someone was mentioning to me about going to a honey tasting in Napa, as a break from the wine tasting. Was curious, but couldn't find much information about this. Anybody have any leads?

Along those lines, what about other interesting tasting options? I've seen some mention on this board of olive oil tastings (though, haven't quite wrapped my head around the concept of "drinking" oil!).

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  1. I knew Marshall's Honey was near Napa, but I didn't realize they had a tasting room. Anyone done a tour/tasting there?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      We haven't - but did purchase their Napa Wildflower while in the area and subsequently looked up the website and found out more about them. The Napa Wildflower is really something special - we had it with our dinner at Ad Hoc and promptly went down the road to buy it at the local market. Wish we'd know about them prior to going, because it would have been a nice detour - I've always wanted to visit a honey "farm". Will keep this in mind for the next time we're around for sure.

      1. re: sivyaleah

        I've been buying their honey at various farmers markets for years, although they don't seem to be doing Ferry Plaza any more (at least, not on Tuesdays -- they have another honey vendor now). Tasting honey at their stand made me realize for the first time how much honey really does vary. It's both enlightening and delicious!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I bought some at FP on a Sat a couple weeks ago, so they're still there.

        2. re: daveena

          Is it their own house brand?

          It's funny - I lived in NYC for many years, and still work there and I never heard of that market before you mentioned it. Is it new?

          1. re: sivyaleah

            House brand. It's on 1st and 79th - good upscale market, but smaller than Dean & Deluca, Zabars, etc, and doesn't have the same name recognition. Couldn't tell from the website how long they've been there, but they were there when I left NYC over 5 years ago.

        3. re: Ruth Lafler

          I haven't, but I sometimes pass by there on my runs. It's on the way to the local little league baseball field, and they always seem to have a flock of ducks or geese "guarding" the front entrance. I'd say it's worth a shot for certain

        4. I mentioned it some time ago - Katz & Co sells olive oil, preserves, vinegars, and honey (some of it under the names Braches). I worked for them for a few months several years ago and at that time, they welcomed visitors to their offices, even offering a 10% discount to those who came in person (versus buying it online). Apparently they have since discontinued the service.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Carrie 218

            I've done the tasting/tour at Marshall's and loved it. Met the beekeeper and his wife who runs the sales side. It's a very down home and unpretentious operation. She gave us a brief tour and let us taste 5-6 types of honey in their kitchen-like production room. It's low key, not luxurious and totally authentic. Pristine? No. Fun? Absolutely. We bought several jars which were ladled from tank to bottle for us. They then slapped on a new label on each.

            Marshall's products are top of the line. I've had it several times at Ad Hoc in Yountville which often includes honey + almonds as the pre-dessert course.

            Marshall's is delicious and recommended. A nice complement and counterpoint to top wineries in the area.

            1. re: cortez

              Inspired by this thread I stopped by Marshall's on the way home from Napa this weekend. My experience was pretty much what you described: they have a "store" with some samples for tasting, but when I actually wanted to buy some the beekeeper (who was the only one around, and who had basically left me to wander around while he hauled in some honey flats) took me over to the "Honey House," where he pressed more samples on me (some amazing crepe myrtle honey, and their first chestnut honey -- which he let me taste straight from the comb -- and some berry briar honey that really did have distinct berry flavor). I got the impression he would have let me taste everything in the place! After all that, though, I ended up buying an old favorite: honey from the CIA herb garden. He filled the jar all the way to the rim for me and slapped the label on (actually, he got a phone call and without realizing it put an extra front labels on). They only do full on tours if you call in advance.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Ruth, how does the CIA compare to the Napa Wildflower? I was going to buy that also, but resisted when I was there. Next time I'm in need I'll have to order via the website, so I'm curious what the difference is. I've never had honey that was from herbs before. Thanks!

                1. re: sivyaleah

                  I think it's more complex, with herbal notes. He was talking about how the hives are near the river, and so the bees are exposed to a wide variety of flowering plants in addition to the herbs in the garden. I remember for a while they had honey from two different parts of the CIA gardens, and they were significantly different tasting, which I thought was amazing.

                  The other honey I wanted to buy he couldn't find any of -- the "Petal"Luma which had an almost perfumelike floral quality.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Thanks Ruth. I think when I do an online reorder I'll wind up buying a bunch of them. The Napa Wildflower is so irresistable, I'm sure all the others are too!

                    1. re: sivyaleah

                      After about a decade, the pumpkin blossom remains my favorite. It is different from anything I've ever had honey-wise. I can eat is straight off a spoon and don't need another thing. If you haven't tried it, give it a try.

          2. There is a honey farm in the county. If you are coming from the East Bay and go through American Canyon. Just after the new shopping center at the north end of town (with the not yet open Walmart) across the highway, just as you start over the overpass there is a yellow building possibly painted like honey comb and they do honey. There is another near 128 on Las Amigas Rd. just about across from the Boonfly Cafe. So go left from 128 and past the kennel and it is right on the right. There is just a stand and you put your money in a can.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Curmudgeon

              In the first instance, I believe this would be Marshall's. From Hwy 29 you would turn onto Napa Junction Rd (which is just before/after the overpass, depending on which direction you're coming from) and make a right at Lombard. You'll see Marshall's on the left after you pass by the storage place.

              Marshall's Farm Honey
              159 Lombard Rd, American Canyon, CA 94503

            2. Thanks for the info - I'll keep Marshall's in mind! Not sure if this trip's still going to happen, but I'll keep it mind for later.

              1. Let me tell you; Marshall's physical 'plant' is essentially a dump; however, the Marshall's themselves are wonderful people who have an enormous emotional investment in what they do and it shows in the final product. My wife and I have been there several times and each time we're introduced to a new and wonderfully exciting product. Our problem is stopping ourselves from making too many purchases because virtually all of them have turned out to be delicious. In fact, we now mail their honey to family and friends who otherwise would never be able to find so many delicious varieties. Oh, yes - meeting the Marshall's is a 'trip' :).