3,000 bottles of honey have been produced through a collaboration within the College of Agriculture.
Alyson McGovern, a sophomore in the College of Agriculture, was asked to be the student lead of the Purdue Honey Project. She had been working with the department in the apiary, where bees are kept, over the summer, said Erik Kurdelak, manager of the Pilot Plant.
McGovern delegated and approved tasks as well as extracted, bottled and labeled honey, she said. But because the academic facility was strictly for training and research, she also helped with getting the project approved by the Indiana State Department of Health so they could manufacture and sell the honey.
Through a group effort, Boiler Bee Honey came to life.
The honey that they produced is unique in many aspects, McGovern said.
The bees feed on wildflowers, which is better for honey because it makes the honey thicker, sweeter and more nutritious than if they fed on clovers. The honey is also minimally processed and produced with low amounts of heat, Kurdelak said.
Boiler Bee Honey recently debuted at the Purdue Agriculture Alumni Fish Fry on Feb. 1 and is now being sold at the Boilermaker Butcher Block in 8-ounce bottles at $5 each, in addition to the Crasian Brewing Company’s release of a new product that incorporates the honey this past Thursday.
The Purdue Honey Project started with entomology professor Brock Harpur when he approached the department of food science about marketing the honey that was being made, Kurdelak said.
“We needed somebody to keep track of things and to coordinate the activities,” he said.
Kurdelak knew someone had to lead the initiative, and he wanted it to be student-driven and centered on experiential learning.
McGovern explained that she came into the project inexperienced in the production process, but she soon learned through hands-on experience. All of the proceeds will go to the departments that helped the team to create the honey for research, new equipment and better packaging, McGovern said.
The honey will not be processed again until September, Kurdelak said. So if people have an interest in buying some honey, they should buy it before supplies run out.
“I think the best part is to actually see it on the shelf, tangible,” McGovern said, “I spent (however) long making this, and now finally seeing it on the shelf, especially now, everything’s official.”