Photo by Lydia Chávez

Walking by the Commonwealth restaurant on Mission Street, I noticed boxes on its roof. My first thought, someone had discarded old furniture on its rooftop – not impossible in the Mission.

I quickly realized that there were probably bees up there and a quick call to Commonwealth manager Xelina Leyba confirmed it. Leyba and server, Parker Yesko, began the project in April with one box and now have built up to seven. Their next harvest is on Saturday and already Leyba said, the neighbors are getting ready for their share.

The honey is used by Commonwealth and given away to surrounding neighbors. You may have tasted it in the dressing of the Asian carrot salad, she said.

“We wanted to do it the previous spring, but we didn’t get around to it,” Leyba said, adding that beekeeping classes and minding to bees is just something they have both always wanted to do.

Yesko, she said, would know how many bees they have, but they did harvest four and a half gallons of honey the last time around. After this harvest, the bees will hibernate until the spring.

No matter. There is still plenty to do on the rooftop as they also have a garden and a greenhouse.

This has been your Afternoon Report—a new series we’re trying out in which we offer a quickie post-meridian rundown of some minor developments in the always-happening streets of the Mission District. Got ideas or suggestions? Let us know what you think by sending an email to

Lydia Chávez

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor at Berkeley’s J-school since 1990. My earlier career was at The New York Times working for the business, foreign and city desks. As an old...

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  1. it wasn’t THIS honey, but urban honey from the mission is the most delicious I’ve ever tasted.

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