Wait! Before you get too into this article, you might want to check it out as it appears in our December Issue of Food & Drink Digital. If you like reading our website, you'll love flipping through our colorful, video-filled, interactive e-reader!
So, how great is this?
Philips recently unveiled its “Microbial Home,” a self-described far-future concept which includes ultra progressive elements like a diagnostic “apothecary” and a bio-digester island (a sort of “home version” of the compost processor used at Crave Brothers Farm, which would produce gas to power your home). Every sector of the concept home introduces some fascinating ideas, but the part we’re most interested in is the Urban Beehive, a sleek tinted glass pod that would ostensibly allow homeowners and restaurateurs to keep bees and reap their benefits in style.
“This is a sustainable, environmentally friendly product concept that has direct educational effects,” reads the copy for the concept. “The city benefits from the pollination, and humans benefit from the honey and the therapeutic value of observing these fascinating creatures in action. As global bee colonies are in decline, this design contributes to the preservation of the species and encourages the return of the urban bee.”
The beehive is designed to mount in a window, with an “entry tunnel” tube connecting the indoor beehive to an outdoor flowerbox meant to attract free-roaming bees. It’s even designed with a smoke activator to calm bees down before removing honey to use as you please. It’s perfect for a modern home looking for something more than a ho-hum ant farm, but we can’t help thinking about the applications a personal beehive could have at a restaurant.
Recent years have seen a major upswing of nature-friendly restaurants building their own herb gardens and casing farmer’s markets for fresh, local goods. What could a personal beehive add to that equation? The guarantee of being able to offer your customers fresh, sweet, local raw honey at any time as an ingredient in glazes or desserts, a condiment for brunch items, or an accompaniment to coffee and tea. Between the purported health benefits of local raw honey (it’s said to help cure everything from allergy symptoms to blood sugar issues) and the counterfeit corn syrup issues that are said to run rampant in the imported honey industry, being able to offer honey straight from the hive is a valuable commodity. Most urban restaurants don’t have the space for full-blown bee colonies, but this Urban Beehive could be just what the doctor ordered.
Yes, we know that this beehive – like the excellent larder and the rest of the Philips Microbial Home – is just a concept in the same way as the 1950s displayed robot-driven Homes of the Future. But unlike concepts of old, we have the technology right now to make at least some of these come true. If the ability to keep bees in our homes and restaurants is all that comes to fruition, we’ll be happy enough indeed.