Fun fact: Montana is the second largest honey producer in the U.S. (North Dakota is number one.) And among all those Montana beekeepers are two brothers, Jacob and Sam Wustner, whose Wustner Brothers Honey is made by bees whose hives are kept in the Sapphire Mountains, south of Missoula. The Wustners grew up around bees—their dad kept bees and made honey his business. Now the sons are running the show and they’re making sustainability a top priority. Their bees feed on wildflowers, knapweed, and clover on public lands of the National Forest Service and the Land Conservancy, which means the honey is as wild and organic as possible.
Wustner honey is raw and unprocessed. It’s extracted from the combs by hand, and is never heated or filtered. Which is why, for instance, the knapweed honey crystallizes into a creamy white. “You can instantly tell the difference in flavor,” says Sam Wustner, who also rents his hives out to California almond growers to help pollinate their crops (and help him earn additional off-season income).
Given the problem of bee colony collapse around the country and the vital role that honeybees play in pollinating our crops, the Wustners might be considered guardians of a very important link in the food chain. And their honey is floral-sweet and delicious, too.