Students in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University get real-life training through projects that extend outside the classroom. Boiler Bee Honey is the result of one of those experiences.
“My students wanted to go further than just learn about honeybees,” explains Brock Harpur, a Purdue entomologist involved with the university’s apiary. “They convinced me that we should produce honey from our beehives that we could sell.”
Boiler Bee Honey debuted at the 2020 Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry. A bottle of honey was placed on each table, and was also available for sale at $5 per bottle.
If you’re expecting a pure liquid honey like you might see at county fairs, you might be surprised. “It’s raw honey, and that is how we prefer it,” Harpur says. “If you heat it up, it will change into the pure liquid honey you typically see. Personally, I prefer it in raw, and that’s what we’re selling.”
There’s more to the story than just students in entomology removing honey from a hive. Students in the Purdue Food Science Department became involved. Erik Kurdalek manages the food science pilot lab, which is set up so students can learn actual processing and packaging techniques. The honey is bottled and packaged with student involvement in the lab.
Today, you can buy Boiler Bee Honey at the Boilermaker Butcher Block on the Purdue campus. Plans to make it available elsewhere are in the works.
2nd product debut
Boiler Bee Honey wasn’t the only new product introduced at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry. Participants feasted on a new Purdue ice cream. One year ago, Boiler Tracks was introduced at the fish fry, and is available today at the Butcher Block.
This year, Gold Rush ice cream debuted. Made with honey, it boasts a creamy, sweet taste. Like Boiler Tracks, it’s also produced by Round Barn Creamery in Kewanna, Ind.