What's the Buzz? Urban Beehives

June 06, 2019

What’s the buzz? Urban beehives in Vancouver Restaurants.


Bees are a big deal. They may be small, but they are mighty, and if we want to support local and sustainable food, then we need to support bees. It’s about ensuring that our crops are pollinated and ensuring that we have diversity within our ecosystem. They allow plants to reproduce and they contribute to the food system by feeding animals, birds and insects. These little insects play an important role in our food supply.


A study in Nature Communications found that wild bees contribute 80% of all crop pollination globally. Their research found that bees contribute around $3,250 per hectare per year - around $4.2 trillion added to the global economy.  (https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8414)


In BC, wild and commercial bees are our allies in the production of all of our orchard fruit: apples, peaches, pears and cherries, as well as berries and some vegetables. 


Their importance can go a long way in the restaurant kitchen as well – with their natural, local and regionally specific sweetener – honey! Simply delicious!


Some of the top restaurants around the world are starting to participate in the rise in urban rooftop beekeeping and hyper local sourcing. The Waldorf Astoria in New York and the White House both have hives! In Vancouver, the Vancouver Convention Centre West has it’s own hives – and their exclusive honey is a scarce and uniquely Vancouver treat.


If you’re thinking, what dishes use honey in a restaurant setting, here was some tasty examples.


As an appetizer, think of a costini with ricotta, honey and hazelnuts. Honey is amazing paired with Blue Cheese – if you haven’t tried it, you must!


Main course: what about a tenderloin with a honey glaze or a barbecued rack of pork with a Honey Dijon marinade. Honey can be used a sweetener in handmade Italian style thin crust pizza dough. Desserts include meringues and baklava.


Sips worth trying: There’s a classic cocktail that says it all: The Bee’s Knees!


ARC Restaurant is located in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. Both the hotel and the restaurant are committed to bee-ing sustainable. Fairmont have more than 40 honeybee apiaries and wild bee hotels on properties around the world. The honeybee hives at the Waterfront Hotel have been on the third-floor terrace since 2008. They are in the midst of a 2,100 square foot herb garden (which are used in the restaurant daily). The hives are reputed to produce 600-800 pounds of honey per year. Chef Anthony Marzo creates seasonal, mouth-watering, honey infused dishes year round. If you go to the restaurant, you can even ask for a tour from May to September!


Forage is a farm-to-table bistro that focuses on presenting creative, area-sourced plates. Forage and partner location Timber have their own hive located on the roof of the Listel Hotel Vancouver. Chef Welbert and Beekeeper Brian work together to ensure the success of the hive and to create menu items that are inspired by the nectar of the gods! 


Want to learn more?

Vancouver Honeybees is a community-based initiative dedicate to the sustainable management of bees and beehives in urban areas. You can even adopt a hive if you’re interested in getting buzzed! Check them out here! http://vancouverhoneybees.com

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