The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 90 of 92

9 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t TAKING ROOT A pot of honey harvested from the CLIFT Hotel's rooftop apiary in San Francisco. CLIFT HOTEL LEADS THE WAY IN CREATING ROOFTOP BEEHIVES by Jeff Cox / photos courtesy of CLIFT Hotel IT WAS A BRILLIANT IDEA; turn hotel rooftops in San Francisco into launching pads for tens of thousands of honeybees. From up there, the bees cruise the city, looking for flowers. And if there's any city that's draped in floriferous abundance, it's San Francisco. There's Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and thousands of acres of undeveloped land in the Marin headlands just across the Bay. Not only that, but just about every backyard in the city is packed with plants that flower all year around in the cool but moderate Mediterranean climate. And you know how plants love a good misting; San Francisco's famous fog provides it almost daily. Putting beehives on his hotel's rooftop was the brainchild of Michael Pace, general manager of the CLIFT Hotel. He's also the chairman of the Sustainability Committee of the Hotel Council of San Francis- co. In this capacity, Pace thought, "What if we did something different? Something with a little more heart and soul?" He was aware of Colony Collapse Disorder that was wiping out beehives around the world and wanted to do something to help the little honeymakers. The CLIFT installed its rooftop apiary in May 2015, with one queen and 10,000 bees. Today, the apiary has 80,000 bees in 10 hives and expects to grow its 10 colonies to 800,000 bees by 2017. Each hive should produce up to 70 pounds of honey. Local beekeeper Roger Garrison has been hired to install and maintain the hives. Nine more hotels either have hives on their roofs or plan to have them soon, and the idea of helping bees continues to grow. The Fairmont San Francisco, for instance, has a Bee Sustainable Program with more than 20 participating hotels around the world. The CLIFT's honey is used in two of their signature cocktails: The 49er Tea Time highball mixes honey syrup and lemon juice with black tea-infused whiskey, and the Peerless Purple uses honey syrup and lemon juice with lavender- infused gin and lavender bitters, as well as in food, such as the compressed watermelon salad with lavender-infused honey. Oh, and that lavender? It's part of the cocktail herb garden grown on the second floor terrace, along with basil, thyme, oregano, makrut lime and other herbs used by the mixologists in the hotel's Art Deco Redwood Room. Local beekeeper Roger Garrison prepares to harvest honey from a hive at the rooftop bee sanctuary. The 49er Tea Time, a CLIFT Hotel signature cocktail. Compressed watermelon salad with lavender-infused honey, one of the small bites featured on the menu at CLIFT Hotel's Redwood Room. Apiaries in the Air ■cr

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Clever Root - Spring / Summer 2016