There have been a few mentions in the food media in recent times about the trend of introducing bee hives to our suburbs and city rooftops. This was something I really wanted to know more about – I mean are there really bee hives on city buildings and apartment balconies?
My search first brought me to Lyndon Fenlon. He has been involved in running bee keeping courses at CERES and runs The Urban Honey Company. Have a look through his website and you’ll get a real idea of why bees are so important to our agriculture and natural ecosystems. The site offers advice on bee keeping courses, info on bees and the delicious products they create with local honey. I can highly recommend the thick cut honey marmalade which is made to 200 year old recipe.
The interest in bees then attracted Vanessa and Matt from Melbourne City Rooftop Honey. They kindly offered to take me to see one of their hives in the heart of Melbourne. The hive in question is on top of The Alto hotel in Bourke Street and the plan is to utilise the honey in the hotel – so it is completely made on-site for their guests.
So on a blue sky day I was taken by elevator and tiny staircase to the hotel rooftop, kitted up in a bee-proof hat and taken to meet the bees. Well I say meet, but your correspondent was keeping a more than safe distance as Matt and Vanessa got to work inspecting the hive.
I have to say it was an absolutely fascinating to see such an ancient food cultivation method atop a modern city building. So get online and have a look at both the websites mentioned here.
There might be an opportunity to get a hive at home or your workplace. Or at the very least order some locally made honey for the larder.
I was also the lucky recipient of a couple of samples of their honey – one from Carlton and another from Prahran. They were in a word extraordinary. Incredibly rich, textural honeys with aromas and flavours of mild treacle, spice and muscat.
So I’m a return convert to honey – especially when it’s at this level of quality, flavour and integrity. The only food miles in this product have been done by the bees themselves!