عسل الفقرة الجبلي
The honey of Al-Figra (called Figra in Saudi dialect, while in modern standard Arabic, it is called “Fiqra”) is characterized by different properties from all kinds of local honey, due to the multiplicity of plants and the floral diversity in it, which helps bees to harvest the nectar of its flowers throughout the year on Al-Figra Mountain.
The Al-Karath (African milk tree, Euphorbia trigona) is a poisonous plant for animals and humans, however, local bees collect pollen from this plant to produce the finest and best types of mountain honey. The price of one kilogram of Al-Figra Mountain honey can reach 2,500 riyals (2023). This honey is consumed throughout the year, usually as part of a daily local breakfast.
The location of the hives is far from cities in remote areas. From Medina, it takes two hours to reach one of the honey extraction sites by car on a paved road, then an hour on a dirt road, and then about four hours on foot, climbing high mountains, which are not devoid of ruggedness in some locations. The color of the honey is usually shades of amber, but it depends on the nature of the flowers, as well as the seasons. Likewise, its smell varies according to the nature of the pollen. For example, spring flowers always give the honey a stronger scent, and it is easier to identify the origin of the pollen. Moreover, the texture of honey made in spring tends to be more viscous in comparison to honey produced at other times of the year. The seasons are the main factor that determines the color, smell, and taste of the honey.
The honey is extracted from the high peaks and mountaintops using the traditional method. It involves carving rocks and placing hollow tree trunks and substances with aromatic fragrance to attract bees. These structures are securely built to prevent them from being attacked or damaged by animals, such as the honey badger and other insects, and reptiles that feed on honeybees.
Al-Figra mountain is known throughout the Kingdom and internationally for the quality of its honey. The profession of honey extraction is an inherited one that has been passed down from ancestors since ancient times. Traditionally, beekeepers have a number of beehives, which they pass down to their children and grandchildren, who in turn pass them down to their own children. Consequently, there are beehives that are over 100 years old in the same location, with the same bee lineage over many generations. For many years, the people of Al-Fiqra have been harvesting honey and taking it to the city to sell.
There is a potential risk of extinction for this honey due to two factors: the scarcity of rainfall and the risks associated with beekeeping, as the hives are placed in remote and hard-to-reach areas.
The selection of the products is supported by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia.
In collaboration with Azka Farms, Saudi Arabia.