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Fairmont Bees Back for Spring -
Publish Date : 07-Apr-2010
Toronto April 07, 2010
Springtime is right around the corner, promising colorful swaths of blossoming flowers and the fresh taste of local herbs and vegetables. But, along with the traditional harbingers of the season comes the veritable honeybee, who makes the spring’s bounty possible by pollinating all kinds of plants, crops and flowers. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts knows how important these little guys are, so as part of the brand’s 20-year commitment to the environment, six of the brand’s hotels have set-up hives on rooftops and in onsite herb gardens. Not only will this help the local environment by providing plenty of bees to pollinate area gardens and parks, but by harvesting the honey, Fairmont chefs can offer delicious, local and sustainable honey to guests.
Here is a taste of what the six hotel apiaries are up to:
• The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver shares its 2.100-square-foot herb garden with six honeybee hives on the hotel’s third-floor terrace. The hotel’s inaugural honeybee season in 2008 produced a harvest from two hives, while in 2009 the hotel hatched their own queen bee for a third hive and captured a fourth hive of wild bees that outgrew their original home in nearby Stanley Park. Summer 2010 brings two additional hives, bringing the apiary to just over 390.000 honey bees producing an anticipated 500 lbs of honey. Guests of the hotel are invited to join the weekly garden and hive tours conducted by Director of Housekeeping and resident Beekeeper, Graeme Evans.
• The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto expanded its own rooftop apiary from three to six hives in summer 2009, which is now home to around 300.000 bees in peak season. Later in the year, the hotel’s honey placed third in the Dark Honey category at the 2009 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, following up their second place finish in 2008. Since June 2008 nearly 800 pounds of honey have been harvested from the 14th story apiary, with much of it going into the hotel’s mouthwatering cocktails and cuisine.
• The Fairmont Washington, D.C. has guests buzzing after welcoming 105.000 Italian honeybees in summer 2009 to their three new hives on the roof, affectionately named Casa Bella, Casa Blanca and Casa Bianca. The bees enhance the hotel’s culinary program along with its interior courtyard garden, which already provides fresh herbs and flowers such as edible pansies, as well as plants, trees and flowers.
• Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club has partnered with local beekeeper Stephen Macharia, who has been in the beekeeping business for over 17 years, to bring fresh honey to guests. Stephen started out collecting wild honey from the slopes of Mount Kenya, but by June will have 8 hives on property to help pollinate African flowers and the nearby Mount Kenya Forest. Each beehive will host approximately 4000 bees and produce an average of 30kg of high quality honey, with the resort expecting their first mountain honey harvest by September. Also in June, the resort will offer lectures for guests with Stephen so they can learn about bees and honey production, in addition to indulging in a delicious tasting.
• At Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, four Queen Bees made their debut in four hives in the Chef's roof top garden last year. Each hive contains about 70.000 bees that will produce enough honey for the entire hotel, with the extra being sold in the Fairmont Store. The honey is harvested three times a year (spring, summer and fall) and used in special honey-based menus (for banquets) and select dishes in the fine dining restaurant, Le Champlain.
• The Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick has welcomed royalty spanning two centuries, but in 2008 welcomed a queen of a different kind. That’s when their own Queen Bee took up residence in the hotel’s lavish gardens. Since then she and her hive have feasted on nearby Kingsbrae Gardens, a 27-acre horticultural masterpiece, as they produce fresh honey. The honey is on sale for guests, but is also showcased in Chef Ryan Dunne’s culinary masterpieces at the hotel’s three diverse restaurants, and as a tasty component of Fairmont’s traditional afternoon tea.
For a taste of how Fairmont chefs are using their honey, check out http://www.everyonesanoriginal.com/culinaryArts_overview/, where visitors can find recipes for signature dishes across the brand. Also available are ideas from Fairmont’s best mixologists, with recipes for The Fairmont Waterfront’s Herons Basil and Roof Top Honey Collins and Fairmont Royal York’s Royal Buzz.