HONEY OF AN IDEA
Honeybees are Mother Nature’s most important insect, essential to the pollination of most fruits and vegetables. But their numbers have been severely
impacted in recent years by Colony Collapse Disorder (CDC), a disease that
can decimate entire hives. Adding to their plight, when honeybees show up
in an urban environment many consumers panic and reach for a flyswatter
or can of insecticide, furthering hindering their numbers. H-E-B Central
Market is seeking to change that.
The H-E-B Central Market on Lovers Lane in Dallas has teamed up with
the American Honey Bee Protection Agency, a nonprofit that seeks to
save honeybees from extinction, and has installed hives on the roof of its
store. The hives are managed by the Texas Honeybee Guild, which collects the honey, sends it to a facility in the DFW Metroplex to be filtered
and bottled, and returns it to the selling floor of the Lovers Lane store,
where the 100-percent raw honey is merchandised on an exclusive endcap
display under the Lovers Lane Rooftop Apiary Epic Honey Co-Op brand,
selling for $5.99 a 4-ounce jar.
“We sell every drop we produce each season—about 1,400 jars,” says
Mabrie Jackson, director, public affairs at H-E-B/Central Market regional
office in Dallas. All profits from the sale of the jars goes to the American
Honey Bee Protection Agency.
On its roof, Central Market houses four active beehives, with approxi-
mately 70,000 bees per hive, Jackson says. Development of the project came
about through discussions with local beekeepers. “We buy and sell a lot of
local honey,” Jackson says. “This brings awareness to the importance of bees.”
The hives are active during the warmer months. In the winter, when the
bees are dormant, they are removed from the rooftop and sent to another
location in a warmer part of Texas.
“Right now this is unique to our Lovers Lane location. We are still learning how to vest run a program like this before we roll it out to additional
stores,” Jackson says.