Honeybees & Herb Garden
In June 2010, Fairmont San Francisco, in partnership with Marshall’s Farm, installed honey beehives in the hotel’s culinary garden in order to help support the bee population, which has decreased in number by 90 percent since the 1980s.
Beekeepers established four nascent beehives, each containing approximately 20,000 bees, in the culinary garden that is located outdoors on the hotel’s lobby level. Currently beehives each house up to 50,000 bees.
The United States Department of Agriculture believes a virus is responsible for the collapse of honey bee colonies. This situation is often called “CCD” or Colony Collapse Disorder. Without honey bees, pollination is not possible. The decrease of the honey bee population is extremely significant since one out of three mouthfuls in the diet is affected by the honey bee population.
The installation was the first step in cultivating the culinary garden, which now measures 1,000 square feet. The garden contains rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, chives and cilantro along with lavender. Guests can view the culinary garden through floor to ceiling windows in the foyer leading to the hotel’s Pavilion Room.
“The cultivation of honey beehives marks the latest step in Fairmont’s history of environmental stewardship. Our hotel has been part of the fabric of San Francisco for more than a century and its success can be attributed to an enduring commitment to the local community and environment,” explains Regional Vice President and General Manager of The Fairmont San Francisco Tom Klein.
HOME-HARVESTED HONEY IS ON THE MENU
In 2011, the beehives produced approximately 800 pounds of honey, which has been served to hotel guests as part of Fairmont’s commitment to offering local, organic, sustainable cuisine. This home-harvested honey is used in soups, salad dressings, pastries and as an accompaniment to the hotel’s time-honored afternoon tea service. It is also used in Fairmont San Francisco’s own Honey Saison Beer, which is offered in bottles in Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar as well as Caffé Cento.
Fairmont is currently the only hotel in San Francisco to raise honey bees. Honey beehives can also be found at Fairmont Dallas; Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa; Fairmont Washington, D.C.; Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver; Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews, Canada; Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China and Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club.
Click Here for more information about Fairmont Beehives.
Headquartered in American Canyon, Calif., Spencer and Helene Marshall of Marshall’s Farm have been producing award-winning organic honey since 1993. They currently operate beehives throughout Northern California and their honey is served at The Culinary Institute of America. For more information about Marshall’s Farm, please visit www.marshallshoney.com.