By Dagny Brand
“Our mission is to keep honey bees healthy, give them a healthy habitat, use organic processes, and ensure colony success,” said David ‘Kawika’ Sebag, summing up his love and care for bees. Started in 2011, Big Island Moonbow Farms has 100 hives on the Big Island and “prides [itself] on the artisanal side of beekeeping.” The bees on the farm help neighboring farmers by pollinating their crops, making Big Island Moonbow Farms a big part of the community. In addition to talking about bees and helping others start their own bee hives, Big Island Moonbow Farms created Wai Meli Honey to share their organic honey with the community. “You don’t have to keep bees to help bees,” mentioned Sebag. “Just buy local honey, plant flowers, or let your lawn grow wildflowers.”
Because of the Hawaii weather and the farm’s versatility, Big Island Moonbow Farms is able to produce delicious honey year-round. Sebag explained, “The honeybee is the most sophisticated and efficient pollinator because they have the capacity to capitalize on the flowers with the most amount of food.” Honeybees and flowers have a symbiotic relationship in which the bees pollinate the flowers and eat the nectar the flowers give them. Certain plants will flower at different times of the year, so the farm moves the hives to the part of the island that is in bloom. The Christmasberry has been blooming since July, so the hives are currently near the Christmasberry plants. Next, the hives will be moved to the eucalyptus blossoms. Moving the hives allows Big Island Moonbow Farms to provide food for their bees all year round, and the action also results in different flavors of honey. “Each flower has a different taste, a different sugar content, and a completely different characteristic,” said Sebag, explaining that each different nectar creates a different flavor of honey.
You can experience all the different types of honey, flavored naturally by the flowers chosen by the bees, with Wai Meli Honey. Sebag recommends trying a couple side by side to taste the different qualities, similar to a wine tasting. “They all have their own beautiful quality,” said Sebag. He recommends the Lehua blossom honey, which the bees make from the Lehua blossom on the ʻŌhiʻa tree, a plant endemic to Hawaii. The eucalyptus blossom honey is popular as well because of its butterscotch flavor. “It’s something I go to just for a spoonful,” said Sebag. Wai Meli recently changed to a Shopify platform, so it is now much easier to view, compare, and purchase products.
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