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Middleburg’s Salamander goes to the bees

The luxury Middleburg spa partners with local beekeeper to develop program. Photo Courtesy/Salamander Spa & Resort
Salamander Resort & Spa has formed a partnership with local beekeeper Britt Thomas, owner of Britt’s Bees, to develop the Salamander Honeybee Program.
Bringing in 20 hives with about 50,000 bees in each hive for a total of more than 1 million bees, Salamander will start producing its own honey before the end of summer.

Since its opening in August 2013, the resort has made every attempt to leave the land as natural and abundant as possible with indigenous trees, flowers, birds and wildlife –200 of its 340 acres are in conservation easement. Additionally, the resort is committed to sourcing its food, wine and other products from as many local sources as possible.

“We are thrilled to have this program in place at Salamander and are excited to see it mature. Together, our goal is to have twenty or more colonies located around the property over the next few years. Although a small start, we are proud to make a positive impact in favor of honeybees and to continue to produce seasonal ingredients,” says Chef de Cuisine Chris Edwards.

According to an annual survey released by the Bee Informed Partnership in May, about 5,000 beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies over the last year. This represents the second-highest annual loss recorded since surveys began in 2010. With the colony located across the resort’s Grand Lawn within guest view, Salamander hopes to increase awareness on the plight of honeybees and other pollinators.

The nearby honeybees will also benefit the resort’s culinary garden where many of the vegetables and herbs featured on its restaurant menus are sourced. By the fall season, Salamander expects the bees to provide enough honey to meet all the restaurant demands and allow for its guests to take home a unique memento from their stay. The resort will also launch a Honey Dinner Series where guests can experience a multi-course dinner with drink pairings focused on honey along with demonstrations by Thomas and Salamander’s culinary team.
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