Blog » Vanishing of the Bees
I was fortunate to be able to attend the screening of Vanishing of the Bees at Market Restaurant in downtown Raleigh last Wednesday evening. It was very hot and humid, but despite the weather, the event enjoyed a good turnout. And for a great cause, as well. Market, a restaurant whose chef is passionate about cooking and serving local, humanely raised and sustainable foods, has been open for just over a year. Soon after they started business and in keeping with a mission of providing local food, they installed two beehives on their roof. It doesn't get much more local than that! The colonies have been happy and healthy and have provided Market and their neighbor Escazu Chocolates with honey for beverages, salsas, dressings, desserts, and chocolates.
Since the hives have been so healthy, Market decided to raise money through a kickstarter program to procure four more hives, for a total of about 250,000 bees busily living, breeding, and pollinating in downtown Raleigh. Happily, Market met and exceeded their fundraising goal, and as of Sunday, July 31, when you go eat at Market, you will be able to see their six hives — not on the roof, where you had to walk across the street and stand on tiptoe to see them or brave an ascent up an aluminum ladder — but down behind the restaurant. The bees are far enough away from the restaurant that you won't need your EpiPen, but you will have a clear line of site to the industrious hives as you are dining on the patio.
In a happy synchronicity of events, Thomas Walls, a local hobbyist beekeeper and owner/operator of Traveling Screens, Outdoor Movies & More, contacted chef Chad McIntyre of Market to see if he would be interested in hosting a screening of Vanishing of the Bees, a documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder whose producers and distributor are engaged in a massive outreach program revolving around grassroots screenings of the film in living rooms, back yards, parks, and even restaurant parking lots. Of course, Chef Chad enthusiastically agreed, and the screening ended up being part of a celebration of the successful funding of their expanding urban apiary.
I had a chance to speak with McIntyre for a few minutes before the screening. He said that they had already been planning to increase their number of hives when the devastating tornadoes hit in April. Amidst the wide-spread destruction, Market lost one of its hives and their kickstarter fundraising event became more important than ever. Now that the project has been successfully funded, McIntyre is looking forward to working in partnership with Wake County Schools Community Outreach Program at William G. Enloe High School to expand their culinary garden, and to help pollinate the plants with their own bees. They will also be lending their support to the urban farming start-up Raleigh City Farm at Peace College. He even mentioned setting up a "bee cam" so folks can see the bees up close without having to get too close.
As a pastry chef, I also had to ask about what dishes they are using their honey in currently. Their menu changes seasonally, but right now they are offering sheepshead fish with house-made pineapple vinegar tomato salad with honey-herb infused local polenta. And for those of you with a taste for dessert, you can always choose the summery vanilla panna cotta garnished with Market honey and fresh berries.
Local bee expert Ben "Mr. Buzz" Crawley was also on hand for the event. He brought along a Plexiglas-covered demonstration hive so those interested could see what the bees get up to when they are in their hive. Not only does Crawley raise urban bees, he also drives to Georgia in the spring to bring back thousands and thousands of bees to sell to other hobbyist beekeepers. As a matter of fact, when Thomas Walls from Traveling Screens bought his bees earlier this year, he bought them from Crawley!
And as to Colony Collapse Disorder? While nobody is completely sure about what triggers these massive bee die offs, much of the evidence points to the pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides that are routinely sprayed on crops that bees frequent. Do think about the bees the next time you consider spraying harsh chemicals on your lawn and try to find an organic, bee-safe alternative.
To host a screeening of Vanishing of the Bees
To dine at Market Restaurant
To contact Traveling Screens to host your own outdoor movie or gaming party
To contact Ben "Mr. Buzz" Crawley
To find out more about the wonderful chocolates created at Escazu Artisan Chocolates
For more information about Raleigh City Farm
To find out more about beekeeping in North Carolina
Link to Market's photos of the event: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/6039716/1/Pics?h=b6d169