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Hotel hives give a taste of honey
10:20pm Saturday 19th February 2011 in News
A Cornish country house hotel is now serving guests the first taste of its beautiful gardens thanks to its thriving colonies of bees.
The Budock Vean’s three hives are being nurtured by renowned beekeeper Rodger Dewhurst, who has turned their first harvest into an abundance of fine natural honey, honeycomb and honey-scented candles.
“Bees tend to collect pollen and nectar over an area of about four miles from their home,” said Rodger, “so the Budock Vean bees are pretty spoilt for choice with all the world-famous gardens on their doorstep.
“The honey tastes of the flowers they frequent – so Budock Vean honey has hints of palms and exotic shrubs as well as the countryside flowers of this peaceful location. It is sweet, delicious and completely pure and natural.”
Just within the hotel grounds the bees can spread their wings in 65 acres of organically managed sub-tropical parklands which run down through woodland to the Helford River. But less than a mile away are both Trebah and Glendurgan gardens which rank among the most popular for visitors in the country.
The Budock Vean is now offering the honey as a choice with breakfast and cream teas, but the chefs in the award-winning kitchens are looking at ways of incorporating it into the menus for a Cornish gourmet weekend coming up on 4 & 5 March.
“We try to source everything as locally as possible and as much as 90% of the produce we use comes from within a ten mile radius,” said chef Christian Jordan, “but our honey has to be a record-breaker as the bees are producing it within a stone’s throw of the kitchen doors!”
The honey success has led to another bee-related plan being formulated between the Budock Vean and Rodger Dewhurst – who campaigns and lecturers on bees in the UK and at international conferences, as well as making fine Cornish honey and hive products from Gwenen Apiaries at Portreath.
Bee-themed weekends will introduce guests to the fascinating world of these creatures and the ancient interactions between bees and humans. Rodger wants to increase awareness of their critical importance for world food supplies and biodiversity – and of the terrible threat to their survival in the form of the parasitic varroa mite which has been decimating colonies over the last twenty years. Over many years Rodger himself has been leading research into the bee’s behavioural adaptation to the mite.
“Bees need every bit of help they can get,” says Rodger. “Not everyone has the time or inclination to actually keep hives – but not using chemicals in gardens is a good start. And then if people grow the bee friendly plants like Phacelia and herbs such as rosemary and lavender or shrubs like the cotoneaster they can create a haven for bees and delightful gardens for themselves!”