Today’s guest blog post comes from La Costa Resort marketing director, Denise Chapman.
We’ve all been hearing about the plight of the honey bee. And those of us with kids, or a penchant for animated movies, definitely saw Jerry Seinfeld’s the Bee Movie a few years back.
Chef Frey is a man on a mission. He’s passionate about working with local growers, about harvesting fresh ingredients from the resort’s own herb gardens. And, now, he’s determined that La Costa will do our part to save the honey bees. And what I’ve learned is surprising– it’s not just about the honey. “Honey bees are essential to the pollination and survival of some of Californian’s favorite food crops—almonds, avocados, apples, citrus, and more. We literally can’t go through our day without interacting with a product of honey bees,” explains Chef Frey. “Bringing honey bees to La Costa ties in perfectly with our LiveWell initiatives, as well as our reputation for being environmentally-conscious and a responsible presence in the community.”
Step One in Chef Frey’s program—find a mentor. Frey’s search led him to local expert Bill Meyer, a 30-year veteran of bee keeping. Meyer maintains 600 hives in nearby Rancho Santa Fe, providing pollinators for crops and honey to local stores and farmer’s markets. Chef Frey’s plan is for the resort’s culinary team to maintain La Costa’s hives and oversee honey production here, under the practiced guidance of Meyer.
Step Two—find the bees a suitable home. Another interesting fact—once you pick a spot for the hive, you need to stick to it. Move the hive even just 15 feet to the side and bees literally cannot find their way home. After two scouting missions, which included expert Meyer, Chef Frey, plus the resort’s executive chef, food and beverage director, golf course superintendent, and vp/general manager, the ideal site was located in a far corner of the resort’s 400-acre campus. It’s a lush hillside, brimming with flowers and plants and nestled up to a flowing creek, providing bees with a source of fresh water.
Step Thee—Prepare the bee boxes. The boxes were built and painted and prepared to receive the hives. La Costa is beginning with two hives, hoping to grow to four hives by year-end. Each hive will house up to 50,000 bees, capable of producing 30-60 pounds of honey annually. The boxes themselves are brightly colored orange and blue, making them visible from a distance.
Step Four—there’s no place like home! La Costa’s bees arrived the night before last and the welcoming committee consisted of Chef Frey, Executive Chef Marc Therrien and Vice President & General Manager Paul McCormick, all of whom helped to settle the bees into their new nursery. Watch the video below of Chef Greg carefully moving the honey bees to their new home.
Watch the blog for updates on La Costa’s new honey bee program—including a new honey-based cocktail program, new menu items throughout the resort, even new honey-inspired spa treatments & products.
La Costa Resort and Spa values the safety and comfort of our guests above all else. Our campus spans more than 400 acres and we have placed the honey bee hives far from all guestrooms and public areas. Because the resort has many gardens throughout our grounds, you will continue to see bees among the flowers, but there is no noticeable difference in the number of bees around the resort since the introduction of the hives. La Costa’s hives are registered with San Diego County Agriculture Weight and Measures. For more information on the honey bee program and La Costa, see our FAQs here.