We’ve been hearing more and more about the local sourcing of ingredients in the food service industry. By far the most common form local sourcing takes is a small independent restaurant working out a deal for locally grown vegetables and herbs, or maybe even some locally raised meat.
Of course, restaurants in large urban areas have a much harder time finding local sources because farms are so much farther away. Some have turned to growing their own food in small rooftop gardens or on empty lots near the restaurant. These little chef gardens are a great way for a restaurant to get premium fresh ingredients from a truly local source.
Now some chefs have taken the grow-it-yourself trend to a whole new level: they’ve become beekeepers. Two large urban hotels have allowed their chefs to keep beehives on the rooftop, one in Washington, D.C. and one in Atlanta. The resulting honey is put to good use in the restaurant, where it makes a much more intricate and interesting sweetener than refined sugar.
Honeybee colonies all over North America have been suffering from a mysterious disease called colony collapse syndrome. The honeybee pollinates at least a third of the vegetables and herbs humans eat and plays a vital role in the pollination of many other plants. While a couple executive chefs aren’t going to make much of a difference in the overall bee population, it’s just another example of how the local sourcing of all types of ingredients has become an interesting trend in food service.