The King of Honey
The most famous and sought-after Thyme honey hails from the Cyclades. The natural geomorphology of the soil and the special microclimate of our islands provide the secret ingredients for its velvety taste and its translucent golden color.
The title of King isn’t attributed to our honey by accident. The great sensitivity of thyme to changes in weather conditions requires subtle adjustments throughout the growing period and an accurate production process. This, in combination with the climatic conditions of each region, determines the outcome of the harvest.
Thyme needs some rain in April or during the first fortnight of May to produce nectar, which is a very rare occurrence for the dry conditions of our island. Temperatures between 25 C and 31 C are ideal, with warm days and cool nights and a light Cycladic North wind. Dry, cold and gusty winds destroy it.
The SW wind (livas) is the fear and terror of the beekeepers. If it prevails for even a single day when the thyme is in flower, the nectar secretion is permanently stopped. Unfortunately, this destructive wind is a common occurrence during the flowering season with devastating consequences for the crop.
To achieve its intense aroma, thyme needs a sea breeze and dry thermal climate. When conditions are ideal, bees will collect sufficient quantities.
Only the largest beehives are used to collect thyme pollen. Medium-sized beehives do not manage to grow sufficiently fast during the short flowering period of thyme in order to produce any thyme honey.
Therefore, the title of King has not been bestowed by accident, as the production of thyme honey is a wildly unpredictable process combining uncontrollable environmental variables and finely tuned beekeeping decisions, which most often leads to a “meagre” but very valuable production!