Our CUESA and Urban Kitchen SF Bee Keeping Field Trip at The Fairmont Hotel

April 29, 2011

We really enjoy the CUESA classes. CUESA is the center for urban education about sustainable agriculture. They conduct classes not only at the Ferry Building in San Francisco that include beer, sausage, cheese and yogurt making as well as introduction to butchery, but yesterday, we were fortunate to be able to experience a class on bee keeping and the appreciation of the wonderful product they produce which is honey. This class was conducted on the roof of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. We were able to be to attend this class also because of the work that Urban Kitchen SF does and continues to do! http://www.urbankitchensf.org

Bees are an important part of our planets eco-system. They pollinate thirty percent of our crops we eat in the United States. They are responsible for over 14.5 billion dollars worth of crops produced in the United States each year.

There have been growing concerns about the sustainability of the bees in the last decade. Colony collapse has devastated the bee population and up to thirty percent of the bee population is lost every year. Initially, the hypothesis about the decline leaned towards a mite that was killing the bees. After gathering more evidence, they were realizing that an unknown virus was killing the bees.

One study conducted at a hive examined where the bees had left leaving all their food and brood. There were significant amounts of dead bees in the hive so they thought that maybe cell phone use or other factors played a part in the hive collapse. They then placed a healthy hive in the vacant hive and the bees died. This, with more information gathered determined it was a virus.

California has been very active in their attempts at reviving the bee population. There are many urban bee hives in place throughout the city and The Fairmont Hotel is one place we were fortunate to visit.

We able to meet to owners and operators of Marshall’s Farm Honey. I, personally am a fan of this honey. I used this product daily as the chef at The Monk’s Kettle. It went into my deserts, sauces and specials. I consider their honey to be the Rolls Royce of the honey industry.

We met the husband and wife team Spencer and Helene Marshall of Marshall’s Farm and were able to taste different strains of honey which was really fun. There were orange blossom, lavender infused, California wild flower, eucalyptus and star thistle. All were outstanding.

We had the opportunity to try specialty cocktails made with the honey as well. Here is my beautiful wife enjoying a Marshall’s Farm lemonade. It was amazing.

We were then brought out to the roof to see up close how the bees interact with each other and humans. It was quite windy and chilly but Spencer did a great job tending to the hives. He only got stung once!

Judy in a bee keeper's hat!

Next we were treated to a food demonstration conducted by the Executive Chef of the Farimont Hotel J.W. Foster. He prepared a bruschetta with pickled vegetables over Bellwether Farms fresh ricotta which was very tasty.

We had a wonderful time. It also kicked started our interest in creating our own hive in our backyard. Next door neighbors, watch out! Here is a link to Marshall’s Farm Honey.


One Response to “Our CUESA and Urban Kitchen SF Bee Keeping Field Trip at The Fairmont Hotel”

  1. timothy gray said

    I don’t see Winnie the Pooh in any of these shots…

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