Bees are an integral part of our diet. They are also struggling to survive.
Burgh Bees is giving bees a fighting chance with a program they launched in 2008 to establish bee hive colonies around the region. They created the nation’s first community apiary in Homewood, which operates like a community garden, and put hives at Whole Foods, the roof of Google Bakery Square and the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Last year they established a bee colony on the roof of the Oakland restaurant. Those busy bees sweetened the pot. The Porch harvested 55 pounds of honey this month and a second large harvest is expected later this summer and in the fall, says Stephen Repasky, certified master beekeeper and aviary director for Burgh Bees.
“Last year was one of the worst die offs in bee history,” says Repasky, who lost 70% of the hive behind his Dormont home. “No one thing is causing it. The whole issue of colony die off continues to plague the whole U.S.”
The honey at The Porch goes from hive to table, says Becky McArdle, spokeswoman for Eat'n Park. The restaurant uses it in its pizza dough, homemade sourdough bread and cheese and dessert plates.
Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey added it to its distilled rye as well. A bottle resting on the bar is fermenting as you read.
It’s all part of Eat'n Park’s master plan to produce locally grown food on its premises, says Repasky.
“The more and more the word gets out, the more educated the public will be,” he adds. “We can’t sit back and let bees perish or we will all be eating rice.”
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Stephen Repasky, Burgh Bees, Becky McArdle, Eat'n Park