Saskatoon restaurant owners become rooftop beekeepers

By Jeni Marinucci

Edyta Sieminska co-owns Calories Restaurant with her husband, and the partners of this Saskatoon-area eatery believe in using local products whenever necessary. With their new rooftop beekeeping venture, “local” has become literally just a floor above.

While sourcing local foods – or going “localvore” –  is something that’s been around since the dawn of the restaurant industry, producing your own foods is less common, and because of the nature of its production, having your own honey source even less so. But the idea and the practice is growing. Sieminska tells the CBC that they’re not alone in the growing practice:

“Cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg have been doing this for a couple of years now. There are a lot of restaurants and hotels that have their own beehives on top of their roof.”

With the dwindling bee population reaching near-critical levels in some areas of Canada, along with a current growing interest in natural sweeteners, locally made and sourced honey is something astute restaurateurs are approaching with an open mind – especially since rooftop colonies take up relatively little time and space as opposed to say, growing and maintaining a forest of Sugar Maples for maple syrup.

The couple is getting local support from Saskatoon beekeeper Barry Brown as well as members of the education community like art educator Monique Martin, who they worked with to help bring the program to life.

The next time you notice small colourful boxes on the roof or balcony above your favourite local restaurant, don’t think air conditioner units, think of what delicious recipes featuring local honey may await you inside.