September is National Honey Month – and one longtime, local business is celebrating!
Did you know that located across the Salish Lodge sky bridge, at the top of the hill and behind a secure fence lies the Salish Apiary, which produces an impressive 2,400 pounds of honey each year?
Honey is something the Salish takes very seriously.
The Salish Lodge honey adventure began in 2011 and started with a four-hive, 120,000 bee apiary. A year later eight more hives were added. Beekeeper Daniel Sullivan – owner of Shipwreck Honey in West Seattle – is the in-house apiary expert who keeps the hives, and bees, producing year after year.
Around the Salish Lodge Daniel is known as the “Bee Man.” It all started in 2009 when he enrolled in a bee and honey production certification course. A few successful hives later, Daniel founded Shipwreck Honey – named for the original setting of his hives – on his friend’s 1970s era sailboat.
Daniel and the Salish joined forces in early 2011 in an effort to fight the national bee and honey crisis. The Salish communications department describes it as ‘a match made in honey heaven.’
“While a lot of organizations are talking about the issue, very few are taking action. It is incredible to see the Salish taking that initiative and stepping up to the plate. As a community we have to buy local and produce what we’re able to,” said Daniel. “It is so fundamentally critical to the future of food.”
The Salish Lodge feels strongly about maintaining its apiary as a protected habitat for their honeybees, but guests are still encouraged to visit. Although, it’s located behind a secure fence for the safety of guests and bees, the apiary is still very visible.
Did you know?
The Salish bees pollinate 80 percent of the lodge’s flowering crops located in the on site garden – which provides fresh produce and herbs for the Salish restaurants – and throughout the Salish grounds.
All of the honey produced has a big presence inside the Salish, too. The spa has a ‘Straight from the Hive’ menu. The restaurant features ‘hive to table’ inspirations, including specialty cocktails and dishes. They have also partnered with local companies for artisanal products like Pike Brewing Company’s Pike Hive Hopped Honey Ale. Oh, and the honey is also bottled and sold in the gift shop and online.
Is all the effort worth it?
Daniel says yes and commented, “I love watching people react to trying real honey that isn’t mass produced for the first time. Their eyes light up and you see them make a memory right in front of you.”
Fun Facts about the Salish Lodge Honey Bees & Hives:
- Weather has a tremendous effect on the bees and their production: too wet, they won’t get out and fly; too dry, nothing is blooming for them to gather pollen.
- The organic herb garden that surrounds the hives at Salish is one of the many food sources for the bees and has a direct impact on the taste of the honey.
- It takes about a million flowers worth of pollen for a honey bee to produce 1 lb. of honey. A bee visits about 50-100 flowers during each trip.
- The average honey bee makes about 1/12th of a tsp of honey in her lifetime.
- A honeybee will fly up to 5 miles to find pollen to bring back to the hive. They travel at approximately 15 miles per hour.
- Typically bee hives and/or the bees themselves are installed mid to late April. The first extraction of honey will come in late May-early June. Typically all of the honey is harvested by end of September.
- Salish hives produce little to no honeycomb. The reason is that the beekeeper also feeds the bees, so there is no real need for them to produce the comb that is used for food storage as they begin to grow reliant upon the provided food.
- Occasionally, the Salish will have a winter harvest of honey. This honey is harvested very late in the season and is nearly black in color. The flavor profile changes dramatically as the pollen source for the bees changes as fewer and fewer flowers are blooming.
If you’d like to check out all the Salish Lodge honey products visit www.shopsalishlodge.com
Happy National Honey Month, Snoqualmie Valley!