As part of Northeastern grocer Wegman’s commitment to sustainability, the retailer practices regenerative agriculture, an approach that relies on the sum of the parts – soil, air, water, plants, animals, and humans – working in harmony to create a farm that’s environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. At the Wegmans Organic Farm & Orchard, they follow a number of principles to achieve that harmony and balance. One of the most important is the integration of pollinators, who play a crucial role in the production of wholesome, flavorful fruits and vegetables.
While butterflies, birds, and bats are all contributing pollinators, honeybees play the role of agriculture’s most important pollinators. Honeybees move from one flower to the next to collect nectar and pollen, pollinating as they go, to produce their own food – honey. Luckily, they produce two to three times more honey than they need to survive, giving humans an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The Buzz About Bees
- 35% of the food we eat depends on pollination by bees.
- A worker bee may visit up to 2,000 flowers per day.
- Bees can fly roughly five miles, but most foraging occurs within 1.5 miles to save time and energy.
- A single worker bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.
To help support this ever-important honeybee pollinator population and put the excess honey to good use, Wegmans created their Organic Farm and Near Our Stores honey programs, bringing two fantastic, local honey products to their shelves.
Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard is home to 50 bee colonies, tended to by their very own beekeeper. Not only are those bees critical to the success of crops, but they are also responsible for the production of limited-edition Retail Brand (private brand) Wild-N-Raw Honey, harvested and bottled right at the farm. Each year, the color and taste of the honey differ based on the types of flowering plants the bees visit. This flavorful, delicate honey is unprocessed and full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
For the Wegmans Near Our Stores honey program, they partner with supplier, Barkman Honey, to place honeybee apiaries on the properties of five of Organic Farm and Orchard partner growers in New York, totaling 14 locations and 600 hives. This program helps to improve ecosystems and build populations of honeybees, as well as other native pollinators. The bees also produce nearly 70,000 pounds of honey that Barkman collects and minimally processes to create our Wegmans Wild & Raw Honey, a thicker, more flavorful honey that is harvested and bottled in New York.
Wegmans Wild & Raw Honey from family farms near our stores is available companywide, while our Wild-N-Raw Honey from the farm will be available at select Wegmans locations starting in early December.