The Valley Hospital hosted a demonstration of the honey harvesting process on Tuesday, September 24.
To see all the photographs from the event, please visit Valley’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/ValleyHospital.
The Valley Hospital has harvested the first batch of honey from the honey bee hives located on the roof of the hospital’s Luckow Pavilion in Paramus. About 45 pounds of golden honey were harvested from the hives. This first batch will be offered to employees and used by Valley Dining.
The honeybees arrived at Valley’s Luckow Pavilion on May 14. Valley was the first hospital in New Jersey to have rooftop hives installed as part of a growing trend in urban and suburban beekeeping. Other locations with rooftop hives include the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City and other hotels, supermarkets, and residences.
Beekeeping may sound like an odd endeavor for a hospital to become involved with but it is actually a natural extension of Valley’s other efforts to “go green” and support locally produced food. In 2010 Valley signed the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge, which calls for hospitals to use more locally grown food, work with vendors to obtain products free of pesticides and hormones, purchase more organic foods, educate the community about nutritious and ‘’socially just” foods, minimize or reuse food waste, use ecologically protective food packaging and support humane agriculture systems. Initiatives to date conducted in support of the pledge include buying local produce from Catalpa Ridge farm in Sussex County, the hospital’s commitment to buying cage-free eggs, promoting “Meatless Monday” and a partnership with the community supported agriculture program offered by Hesperides Organica, a farm in Warwick, N.Y.
“We have always been big supporters of locally produced food and what could be more local that producing your own honey?” said Dawn Cascio, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Valley Dining. “We also like the idea of supporting the declining honey bee population while enhancing our community's gardens, foliage, and trees.”
In fact, Paramus’ newest residents will help pollinate a 2-mile radius around the Luckow Pavilion, increasing the yield of flowers, fruits and vegetables over an 8,700-acre area.
Concerned about their sting? Not to worry. “Honeybees are very docile and rarely sting except by accident or in defense of a beehive, because use of its stinger is lethal to a honeybee,” said Eric Hanan, Co-Founder of Bee Bold Apiaries, which supplied and will maintain the honeybee hives for Valley. “Honeybees are not aggressive and are not interested in us or our backyard barbecues or drinks.”
“The New Jersey Department of Agriculture promotes and encourages urban bee keeping,” Cascio said. “We want to do all we can to be as "green" as possible to the environment.”