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Urban Apiaries

Produced by Monica Rogozinski

November 2011

Everyone enjoys a little sweetness in their lives. Sometimes you can find your sweetness in the people you know, or the stories you hear. Other times, all you need is to treat yourself to a small smackeral of honey. As a bee keeper, Trey Flemming is a cultivator of this wonderful and otherwise naturally occurring food favorite. His honey bees are his workforce, and like any good manager, Trey finds that the way to get the highest quality product, is to provide the best possible working environment for his employees. To this end, he decided to experiment and relocate his colonies of honey bees from rural Berks County to the rooftops of Philadelphia. Trey explains how he partnered with Annie Baum-Stein of Milk and Honey Market to raise bees in the city year round, where there are a greater variety of flowers and far less exposure to the pesticides and fungicides that affected the health of his country bees. They are calling their endeavor Urban Apiaries, and the honey is so good that local restaurants like Paradiso on Passyunk Ave. are letting Trey use their rooftops, in exchange for honey that they can use in their pastries. Not only are the bees making honey with a richer flavor, but city residents are finding that honey made from local pollens is helping to prevent the onset of seasonal allergies.

Extended interview with Trey Flemming
Trey Flemming of Urban Apiaries explains some of the day to day tasks of an urban bee-keeper, as he introduces a young colony of bees to a new rooftop and checks on some of his already thriving hives in West Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Candied Local Sweet Potatoes with Urban Apiaries Honey & Whiskey

Recipe courtesy of Annie Baum-Stein — Serves 8 - 10


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup 19129 Urban Apiaries Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Scotch whisky (or fresh lemon juice if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (yams) peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Butter 2-quart casserole dish and set aside. 2. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, Urban Apiaries honey, whisky, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, whisk until butter and sugar are melted, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn this. 3. In large bowl, toss potatoes with butter mixture, salt, and pepper. Transfer to prepared dish and bake, stirring occasionally, until tender and glazed, about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Honey-Glazed Peaches With Homemade Ricotta

Recipe courtesy of Annie Baum-Stein — Serves 8

To make the ricotta:

  • 2 quarts whole milk (preferably raw cow's milk)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Generous pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice

To prepare the peaches:
  • 8 medium peaches (cut in half, pits removed)
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 1 cup Moscato wine
  • 5 tablespoons sugar

1. Make the ricotta: Combine milk, heavy cream, and salt in saucepan and bring to full boil, stirring occasionally. 2. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and stir until mixture has separated into curds. 3. Set a sieve over a large bowl lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour curds and whey into sieve and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Scrape ricotta into bowl. Can be served immediately or refrigerated overnight. 4. Prepare the peaches: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 5. Place peaches cut side up in roasting pan. Pour all remaining ingredients except 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey over peaches. 6. Roast for 20 minutes, sprinkle remaining sugar on peaches, and turn cut side down on roasting pan. 7. Continue to roast for 20 to 30 minutes until caramelized. 8. Top peaches with ricotta and remaining honey and serve.

Honey and Ricotta Panini

Recipe courtesy of Annie Baum-Stein — Serves 1


  • 1 croissant (suggested: Au Fournil)
  • 3 tablespoons Claudio's ricotta or Apple Tree chevre
  • 1/4 of a firm, fresh peach, sliced thin
  • Generous drizzle of Urban Apiaries honey
  • Thin slice of prosciutto

1. Slice open the croissant and layer the ingredients in the order in which they appear; serve cold or press on a panini press until crisped.

Recipe photo credits by Flickr users: h-bomb, travelingmcmahans, and Roboppy