Last month, I wrote about my roadtrip to California which included a stop at a great Mexican restaurant in Winslow, AZ where I briefly met a beekeeper who sells his honey to the restaurant.
Well, it turns out the beekeeper, Roy Crain, has family in the same are of Missouri where I currently live. Roy’s wife, Karen, found my blog while googling camelthorn honey and told me they were coming to Missouri and were bringing me some honey. I was THRILLED– not only about the honey, but that she’d also stumbled upon my blog.
I chatted with Roy on the phone a few times and we agreed to meet at a little diner in Conway, MO. Roy, Karen and their daughter Jessie and I shared a lot of conversation, coffee and the biggest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever seen (more on that in another post).
It turns out that Roy is a railroad man, and beekeeping is his hobby. In fact, honeybees are in his blood, you could say. His grandfather also kept bees and Roy took it up about 15 years ago. He was one of the first people in Arizona– if not the first– to have his bees produce camelthorn honey by setting up hives in an area surrounded by the thorny, flowering shrubs which are considered a noxious weeds in Arizona and elsewhere. But the bees apparently love the small, pink flowers and use it to wonderful effect to make a delicate, bright-flavored honey with a hint of spice that’s incredibly different from the typical clover honey which has a heavier, more cloying sweetness.
Roy now runs anywhere from 50 to 100 hives around Arizona and makes several different kinds of honey including a Winslow Wildflower which is almost as dark as molasses and has a deeper, more complex taste than the camelthorn–Roy calls it burnt– that tickles the back of my throat.
As sweet and good as Roy’s honey is, it’s even sweeter that this blog and a shared interest in food could allow us to cross paths again. It’s further proof of my belief that people who appreciate and produce good, honest food are usually good people.
If you ever find yourself in Winslow, Arizona– sure go by and see the famous corner– but also make it a point to look up Roy and try some of his honey.
Painted Desert Honey Co.