They are the unsung heroes of the food chain and they’re creating quite the buzz on Broadway Avenue.
Monday marked the Day of the Honey Bee in Saskatchewan and the launch of a rooftop project that is sure to sweeten culinary experiences at Calories Restaurant.
The restaurant can now boast about having its own beehives filled with hundreds of honey bees, which according to Dr. Barry Brown are much more critical to the ecosystem than one might think.
“Everything you eat that’s colourful, tasty and a fruit or vegetable – one third of everything you eat is pollinated by honey bees,” Brown said in Saskatoon on Monday.
“If honey bees didn’t exist, some people say mankind wouldn’t exist.”
Each hive has approximately 2,500 to 4,000 bees inside; by mid-summer that number will expand to up to 50,000 bees per hive.
Brown said while the pollination process will begin in the immediate area, the bees will then pollinate flowers and backyard gardens up to four miles away.
“We found out that they’re a lot more important than we all think and that we need them to live,” Shelby Sabo, a Grade 8 student who helped paint the colonies, said.
“If we didn’t have them it would be really hard to make it through without all the food they provide for us, that was kind freaky to find out but it was really fun!”
These new roof top tenants are part of a collaborative endeavor between Brown, the restaurant, art educator Monique Martin as well as 125 grade seven and eight students from Georges Vanier Catholic Fine Arts School and St. Philip School.
“I’m all about doing that for kids making them feel like they’ve made a change in their community and they’re part of it,” said Martin, who is also a Saskatoon artist.
“Sometimes we leave kids on the outside and parents are only part of the community, I want kids to feel like I have done something here.”
The honey produced by the bees will be used to prepare food and beverages at the restaurant. According to Calories chef Taszia Thakur, multiple menu items in the bakery/restaurant are made with honey, everything from cakes to salad dressings, as an alternative to refined sugars.
“Now that they’re on our roof and we’re doing it ourselves, it’s not just getting it local from our local farmers we’re actually doing it ourselves,” Thakur said.
Even the wax will be used for candles to set the scene for those wining and dining and the hope is, this will catch on.
Instead of farm to fork, it will be rooftop to recipe. Each hive is expected to produce up to 60 pounds of liquid gold this year, and 200 pounds of honey per hive each year after that.
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