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Union Station Honeybees Create A Buzz

After the late-summer harvest, Union Station businesses will begin using and selling honey from their very own beehive.

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On the roof of the bustling Union Station, serenity can be found in the smooth humming of honeybees. Four colonies housing anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 bees now call a platform on this downtown rooftop their home thanks to an urban beekeeping initiative that started last fall. Now, almost a year into the project, the honey is nearly ready for harvesting in late summer. Although the colonies are not open to the public, customers can experience the product firsthand as the honey makes its way into the recipes and storefronts of Union Station’s establishments this fall. (Think: honey cocktails at Cooper Lounge, honey ice cream at Milkbox, and honey pastries from Pigtrain Coffee Company.)

For Caitlin Rose Kenney, Union Station’s beekeeper, these colonies are a way for food lovers to channel their passion for sustainability and the environment. And though it might seem like an odd location for honeybee colonies, which are typically found in crevasses of tall trees, this location gives the insects unique access to rooftop gardens and plenty of resources around the city. And the practice of urban beekeeping is more popular than you might think. Hotels including The Brown Palace and Denver’s Warwick Hotel, each of which have four colonies on their rooftops, have also tapped the benefit of harvesting their own honey by using it in their own products. For employees at Union Station, the perks don’t stop at the sweet nectar. “We have a lot of stresses in the buildings,” says John-Mark Larter, director of operations at Union Station. “It’s magical to go up there and be with the bees.”

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