If you're a beekeeper in the United States and folks rave about your honey, then you'll want to enter the annual Good Food Awards event. You'll have a chance to win awards--and bragging rights.
Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, who coordinates the contest, announced that awards will be given in four subcategories: Liquid and Naturally Crystallized, Creamed, Comb, and Infused Honey. The entry period is now underway and ends Sunday, July 31. See criteria on this page.
The contest is divided into five regions--East, South, North, Central and West--with seven or more states assigned to one region, Harris said.
- "West" is California, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Hawaii and Alaska.
- "North" is Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota and Minnesota
- "Central" is Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky
- "East" is Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia
- "South" is Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas
"Finalists from each region are selected on a judging day Sept. 18," Harris explained. "They are vetted according to criteria on this page. Honeys can come from August 1, 2015 – August 31, 2016. Winners are selected during the fall months and announced at the end of the year. The awards will be presented in mid-January."
Harris says there are more than 300 unique types of honey in the United States. The Good Food Awards will showcase honeys most distinctive in clarity and depth of flavor, produced by beekeepers practicing good animal husbandry and social responsibility. The honey can come from hives located in numerous places, from rooftops to fields to backyards.
Last year beekeepers from California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, New York, Oregon and Washington took home the top awards.
Bee Girl, Bee Girl Honey, Oregon
Bee Local, Bee Local Sauvie Honey, Oregon
Bee Squared Apiaries, Rose Honey, Colorado
Bees' Needs, Fabulous Fall, New York
Bloom Honey, Orange Blossom, California
Gold Star Honeybees, Gold Star Honey, Maine
Hani Honey Company, Raw Creamed Wildflower Honey, Florida
Mikolich Family Honey, Sage and Wild Buckwheat, California
MtnHoney, Comb Honey Chunk, Georgia
Posto Bello Apiaries, Honey, Maine
Sequim Bee Farm, Honey, Washington
Simmons Family Honey, Saw Palmetto Honey, Georgia
Two Million Blooms, Raw Honey, Illinois
UrbanBeeSF, Tree Blossom Honey Quince & Tree Blossom Honey Nopa, California
The Honey and Pollination Center is affiliated with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. For more information, email Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So goes a line from "Santa Baby." The songwriters (J. Javits, P. Springer and T. Springer) listed all the good presents they wanted Santa to bring: a sable, a '54 convertible (light blue, please!), a yacht, a duplex and a deed to a platinum mine.
The late Eartha Kitt sang it well, emphasizing: So, hurry down the chimney, tonight!
Odds are that Santa will indeed hurry down the chimney if honey bee colonies occupy the roof. The growing popularity of urban beekeeping means not only more backyard beekeepers but more rooftop beekeepers.
Umm, be careful out there, Santa! You will need some protection: a veil, gloves and smoker. And are you sure you want to wear red? Bees dislike red. It's black to them and bees dislike black. Intensely. Did I say intensely? intensely.
Another thing, Santa, please note that your reindeer will pause longer on the rooftop if they encounter bees, and this will adversely affect your global delivery schedule.
Up on the housetop, reindeer pause
Out jumps good old Santa Claus
Down through the chimney with lots of toys, all for the little one's Christmas joys.
--Up on the Housetop"
In fact, Santa, your reindeer may turn a "pause" into a "standoff" due to guard bees defending their colony. Aggressively. And they don't much like reindeer hooves (or anything else, for that matter) disturbing their hives.
And take Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He's a perfect target and not just because of hooves flailing. It's that bright red nose. Bright. Red. Nose. Ouch!
Question: Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn't go? (Up on the Housetop)
Answer: Umm, Santa and his reindeer?
And remember Clement C. Moore's "The Night Before Christmas?"
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
The key words here are "so lively" and "quick." One sting, and you, Santa, will certainly be both lively and quick. Very. Lively. Very. Quick.
The Chronicle, as you may remember, launched rooftop beekeeping back in 2011 in an effort to help save the disappearing honey bees. Beekeeper May writes "Honeybee Chronicles."
Santa does not read the "Honeybee Chronicles." He is too busy reading lists and questioning whether people are "naughty" or "nice."
These days, however, it is not just about being "naughty" or "nice."
Santa is bound to ask: "Pardon me, but do you keep bees on your roof? How many colonies? Are they European honey bees or Africanized bees? And are these bees accustomed to encountering a red-dressed, bearded fellow driving a not-so-miniature sleigh pulled by not-so-tiny reindeer and led by a reindeer with a big, fat red nose?"
With all the rooftop beekeeping underway throughout the world, Santa may have some serious issues to consider tonight.
The “ho, ho, ho” may turn into a “ho, ho, ouch!”
What if Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer trips over a bee hive on a rooftop? Honey bees are rather grumpy this time of year, you know. The queen bee, clustered inside the warmth of the hive, surrounded by worker bees, is not likely to issue a royal pardon. Guard bees will buzz out to defend their hive.
And they won't be just "pollen" Santa's leg.
Before jolly ol' Saint Nicholas can say "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donner, and on Blitzen," the Big Guy in the Red Suit (not an appropriate color for beekeepers) isn't feeling so good. Neither are the eight reindeer and the Red-Nosed One (now the Red-Nosed-Bulbous-One-That-Got-Stung-by-a-Bee.)
Indeed, this may prompt scientists to issue a white paper on "Santa Claus and the Pitfalls of Rooftop Beekeeping."
So, Santa, it might be a good idea to leave the red outfit at the North Pole tonight and don a professional bee suit with a zippered domed hood and leather gloves.
Might also be a good idea, too, to tuck a smoker in your sleigh.