Meadowfoam Honey is not only tasty, with a flavor akin to vanilla marshmallows, but it is also environmentally friendly!
Meadowfoam is a plant native to the Pacific Northwest. The name derives from the resemblance of the bloom to the white foam on the ocean. The oil, pressed from the seeds, is very stable, and has the ability to extend the shelf life of less stable ingredients. The seedcake is a source of nutrients for cattle and other livestock. It is typically sown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers, and requires less pesticides and fertilizer than other crops. What's more, it was developed as a replacement for sperm whale oil.
Sperm whale oil was once considered one of the best oils available. It was used for everything from lubricating fine machinery, to smokeless candles, to high-end cosmetic creams and soaps, to medical ointments. As recent as the late 50's, you could still find sperm whale oil selling for $5/ounce!
In the early 70's, the Sperm Whale became an endangered animal under the Endangered Species Act, and it became illegal to import sperm whale oil into the US. Synthetic substitutes were difficult and costly to produce, so this spurred a search for other, natural replacements.
Research into Meadowfoam Oil started in the 1950's, as a way to develop renewable plant resources for the industry. Once sperm whales were protected by international law, production of Meadowfoam Oil began in ernest.
In the 1980's, another issue spurred the development of the meadowfoam industry. Farmers had taken to burning their fields after a grass seed crop, in an effort to kill diseases and weeds that could affect other crops. It was found that meadowfoam had the potential to break the disease cycle without burning the fields, which in turn reduced smoke pollution.
Meadowfoam flowers require insect pollination to set the seed. Ideally, 2-3 colonies of bees are required for maximum seed production.