Lee Clarke: Beauty in the eye of the bee-holder

The Prevost hive
The Prevost hive

Forgive the terrible pun, but it’s worthwhile I promise! Bees are a crucial part of our ecosystem – according to the British Beekeepers Association a third of the food we eat is dependent on their pollination.

To put this is in even clearer context, bees pollinate 70 different types of crop, and a colony of them pollinates the equivalent of 4,000 square metres of fruit trees.

Despite how important they are, our bees are in danger. Until relatively recently, much of the British countryside was a lot more colourful than it is now – there were acres of wildflowers for bees to pollinate.

But technology and demand for increased food production has meant more traditional practices have been abandoned in favour of techniques with the most productivity – which means our wild grassland has been depleted, and pesticides have been encouraged to improve growth.

It’s because of these things, and the importance of bees in so many areas of life, that we took an interesting step at Prévost over the last month – we’ve bought our own beehive!

Bees for Business is an initiative of The Good Life Project which supplies beekeepers and hives for some of the most recognisable and iconic brands, while managing beehives for the likes of Pancras Hotel, the University of London and they even have hives on top of BBC Television Centre!

Our beehive is based locally in Market Deeping and I can tell you from visiting it myself that the honey being produced, and the way it is being produced, is incredible.

Not only is it all jarred and labelled by hand, but the product is entirely raw and unpasteurised - just as nature, and the bees, intended.

We’ve already begun using the honey with roasted pears on our menu and we have an amazing honey cocktail that we’re going to be introducing to our drinks menu in the near future.

We have the beehive for the next two years and we can’t wait for the prospect of using this fresh-as- can-be honey across the year.

We’ve been looking for an interesting and unique project to get invested in and this was a perfect fit; it ticks the boxes of great quality, fresh, local and giving back. We couldn’t pass it up!

Perhaps most excitingly we will be giving away the first jar of honey we receive from the hive to a lucky winner. Simply visit our Facebook page (@Prevostpeterborough) to find out more and don’t forget to look after the bees in your garden!

Lee Clarke is head chef of Prevost, Priestgate, Peterborough www.prevostpeterborough.co.uk