Boiler Bee Honey is a student-led initiative at Purdue.
There has been a series of food products produced by students within Purdue University’s College Agriculture, ranging from beer to beef. This year, they have another “B” product – Boiler Bee Honey.
The departments of food science and entomology have collaborated on the honey project, collected from bees in the Purdue apiary and processed and bottled in the food science pilot plant.
The product was unveiled this past Saturday during the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
“They take a high level of care with the bees in the apiary, from the quality and type of flowers to the care of the bees,” said Eric Kurdelak, project manager. “And, of course, we have taken great care in processing the honey. This is a singular product.”
Purdue says this project is student-driven, led by Alyson McGovern, a sophomore in food science. She’s been involved from honey extraction to its bottling.
“The experience has been invaluable in terms of knowledge gained and in building my portfolio,” McGovern said. “When I’m applying for jobs, I’m going to have a physical product I can point to that I made happen. I might even take it to my interviews and put it on the table.”
Purdue Assistant Professor of Entomology Brock Harpur said McGovern came in with very little knowledge of bees or honey, but she is now a bona fide expert.
“This is a wonderful way to demonstrate the collaborative work that can take place every day at Purdue and the opportunities we offer students,” Harpur said.
Kurdelak says she hopes to repeat this project every year. Proceeds from Boiler Bee Honey will support research in food science and entomology.
The inaugural batch produced roughly 3,000 bottles, taken from nearly 24,000 ounces of honey. The product is available at the Boilermaker Butcher Block on campus for $5 a bottle.
The university says the product has been minimally processed to allow consumers to see and taste the honey in its purest form.