My name is Nathan Clarke, and I'm starting Mad Urban Bees LLC, one of the first urban apiaries in the country. This honey is from the flowers, trees, parks, and gardens of Madison itself. I’m a beekeeper of 6 years. I have two hives in my backyard and another 50 hives in the Madison area. My hives will be hosted by residents of the Madison metropolitan area. My bees will be pollinating the gardens and flowers of the city itself. This honey is unique to Madison, a truly artisanal, unique honey.
Where are your hives located and who is hosting them? My hives are hosted in the city of Madison itself: in backyards and on rooftops. My hosts are bee advocates--they are people who want bees in the city and understand the benefit that bees bring to our ecosystem in urban food landscape.
Why Madison? There are actually a lot of urban beekeepers in Madison, and we are a pretty pro-bee town. Madison also has a very strong local food movement. I’m really excited about being a part of that.
Why do you keep bees in the city? Bees thrive in the city. They actually can do better in the city than in the country. Cities have so many flowering trees, gardens, and ornamental flowers. They have such a wonderful variety of nectar and pollen to choose from. Madison also has a longer growing season than the surrounding farmland.
What do the bees eat in the city? Everything. They eat pollen and nectar from basswood, apple and crabapple trees, dandelions, creeping charlie, bergamot, sedum, asters, mint, oregano, roses, and so many others. And this variety of sources really improves the health of the bees and the taste of the honey.