Fresh Honey From the Hives at L’Andana
Did you know that we have beehives on-site at L'Andana? We always strive to use the freshest ingredients, and maintaining hives and incorporating honey on our menu fits with this mission. By keeping bees at the restaurant, we're able to enjoy sweet local honey on our dinner, dessert, and even drink menus for many months out of the year.
Our hives are all thanks to Columbus Hospitality Group's Maintenance Engineer, Andres Morelos, who has an extensive history with beekeeping. He has over 20 years of experience, and has worked with the Africanized Honey Bee, better known as the "killer bee." He's responsible for the health and well being of our hives, as well as the harvesting process. At L'Andana we keep the gentlest strain of bees, so for him, they're a walk in the park! We caught up with Andres to learn more about the bees:
"We currently have several hives at L'Andana. Each hive has an average of 50,000 bees. The honey process begins in early spring when flowers start blooming. Bees collect nectar from many flowering plants and trees including the herbs we grow in the L'Andana garden. All the nectar collected is saved in the honeycombs they construct within the hive. This nectar inside the comb is evaporated by a unique process in which the bees flap their wings. After much of the water is removed, the remaining product is honey. Bees are very hard workers and they are capable of producing large amounts of honey. Lucky for us, they can produce much more than they need to survive the winter.
The bees we have are mild tempered. These quiet workers go unnoticed to the humans they help support. Even though we often think of bees solely as producers of honey, they are actually much more beneficial to our environment than we realize. Bees play a critical role in pollinating the plants we eat. In fact, one third of the food we eat is the result of honeybee pollination. But the honeybee population is at risk. Maintaining beehives helps continue to support honeybees and our environment."
To make sure our bees are happy and thriving we plant several beneficial plants in our restaurant garden. Thanks to Andres' hard work, the bees are flourishing and we're able to maintain mature colonies.
We're so lucky to be able to use fresh honey here at L'Andana, as well as supply our five sister restaurants within the Columbus Hospitality Group. Whether it’s incorporated in a cheese plate, a beautiful dessert, or a cocktail, we hope you enjoy every sweet drop of honey. Our next harvest will be taking place in early July, so be sure to join us then to experience it on our menu!
To finish off our post, we're going to leave you with some honeybee facts that will make you appreciate honey even more!
-The average worker bee will produce just 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime.
-The taste of honey varies based on where it's produced, based on local pollen and nectar, which give it a unique flavor profile. The taste can also vary based on the time of year and what's in bloom. That's why we normally harvest two times a year at L'Andana. This sets the spring and late summer honey apart, and you can clearly see a difference in color and taste.
-On average, a worker bee in the summer has a lifetime of about six to eight weeks. Their most common cause of death is wearing their wings out.
-In that short lifetime, they fly the equivalent of 1 1/2 times the circumference of the earth.
*Facts from the American Beekeeping Federation.