Honey Business

Heritage Prairie's chef apiary is in full swing

Bronwyn Weaver wants people to think of honey the way they think of wine: a dynamic product that reflects its terroir and comes in vintages.

The owner of Bron's Bees, the beekeeping operation based at Elburn's organic Heritage Prairie Farm, is an ardent honey advocate. And this summer, she's made local chefs her ambassadors.

Her honeybees' current vintage is pouring into Chicago restaurants via the farm's chef-supported apiary, a honey CSA for Chicago chefs that's now in full swing.

Earlier this year, chefs signed up for a share: one hive, and the promise of 150 pounds of honey. Some, like Naha's Carrie Nahabedian and City Provisions' Cleetus Friedman, even helped install the bees in their hives.

Weaver calls the raw honey she's now delivering to the chefs "miel (honey) nouveau"–the sweet version of the wine world's Beaujolais nouveau. It's light and flavorful, the best of the season.

Find it at Balsan and Carnival; in ice cream form at Province and Vie; and in the Bees' Knees ($11), a honey-lemon-gin cocktail at Prairie Fire. Or, pick some up for home at Provenance Food and Wine, which bottles its hive's supplies and sells them at their retail stores (The Goddess and Grocer will start bottling theirs at the end of the month).