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Third Annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge – RESULTS

This year’s Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge was a special event.  For the first time this year the award categories were expanded to reflect varietal types of honey, the category of comb honey was added, and multi-floral blends were divided into three types (light, amber and dark).  A total of fifty-two entries were submitted by Hawaiian Natural Honey producers from around the state.

Judging took place at two events; the Formal Judging on November 2 conducted by a panel of five judges selected for their discriminating taste, and the Public Tasting event on November 10 at which anyone who bought a ballot could vote for the “People’s Choice” awards in three categories (liquid, solid, and comb).

Award winning entries in the Liquid category based on scores given at the Formal Judging are:

  • Best in Show – a light noni/palm honey submitted by Ron Hanson of Bee Mo Bettah.
  • Best Albizia Honey rated highest for appearance, texture and taste – an amber Albizia honey submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best Kiawe Honey rated highest for appearance – a light Kiawe honey submitted by Jenny Bach of Bee Love Apiary.
  • Best Taste for a Lehua Blend Honey – a light Lehua blend submitted by Jen Rasmussen of Paradise Nectars.
  • Best Appearance, Best Texture for a Lehua Blend Honey – a light Lehua blend submitted by Julie Myhre of J & J Coffee & Cacao.
  • Best Macadamia Honey rated highest for appearance, and texture – a dark Macadamia honey submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best Mac Plus Honey rated highest for appearance and texture – a dark Macadamia blend honey submitted by Joyce Takahashi of Miki Macs Honey, Kauai.
  • Best Mango Honey rated highest for appearance, texture and taste – an amber Mango honey submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best Ohia/Lehua Honey – an amber Ohia Lehua honey submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best Appearance for a Ohia/Lehua Honey – an amber Ohia/Lehua honey submitted by Greg Johnson.
  • Best Tropical Multi-floral Light Honey rated highest for texture – a light multi-floral honey submitted by Larry Reiss of Parsantha Apiary.
  • Best Tropical Multi-floral Amber Honey rated highest for appearance, texture and taste – a Tropical Multi-floral honey submitted by Ron Hanson of Bee Mo Bettah.
  • Best Aroma for a Tropical Multi-floral Amber Honey – an amber multi-floral honey submitted by Callie McNew.
  • Best Tropical Multi-floral Dark Honey rated highest for appearance, texture and taste – a dark multi-floral honey submitted by Tony Lydgate of Steelgrass Farm, Kauai.

Award winning entries in the Comb Honey category based on scores given at the Formal Judging are:

  • Best in Show – an amber Tropical Multi-floral honey submitted by Larry Reiss of Parsantha Apiary.
  • Best Macadamia Honey rated highest in appearance – an amber Macadamia honey submitted by Ron Hanson of Bee Mo Bettah.
  • Best Mac Plus Honey – a dark Mac Plus honey submitted by Joyce Takahashi of Miki Macs Honey.
  • Best Lehua Blend Honey rated highest in appearance – a light Lehua blend honey submitted by Carol Conner of Jaycee’s Bees.

Award winning entries in the Solid Honey category based on scores given at the Formal Judging are:

  • Best in Show – a light Ohia/Lehua honey submitted by Henry Iuker of Daddy’s Stolen Honey.
  • Best Lehua Blend Honey rated highest in appearance – a dark Lehua blend submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best Texture for a Ohia/Lehua honey – an amber Ohia/Lehua honey submitted by Henry Iuker of Daddy’s Stolen Honey.
  • Best Tropical Multi-floral Dark Honey rated highest in appearance and texture – a dark Tropical Multi-floral honey submitted by Patrick Weder of Lotus Buddhist Monastery.

The entries winning this year’s three People’s Choice awards are:

  • Best Liquid Honey – a dark Eucalyptus honey submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best Comb Honey – a light Noni/Palm honey submitted by Ron Hanson of Bee Mo Bettah.
  • Best Solid Honey – a dark Tropical Multi-floral honey submitted by Patrick Weder of Lotus Buddhist Monastery.

The Big Island Beekeepers Association owes much to the all those who contributed to make this year’s Challenge a success beginning with all those who choose to take on the Challenge and send in their entries to be evaluated.

We also want to extend a special thank you to our judges who labored seven hours on a Friday to rate all fifty-two entries.  Mahalo to:

  • Lauren Rusert from the Hawaii State Apiary Program.
  • Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee Farm.
  • Joan Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee Farm and Isla Custom Coffee.
  • Ralph Gaston of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee Farm and Isla Custom Coffee.
  • Sonia Martinez monthly columnist for the Hamakua Times, Farmers Market produce writer for Ke Ola Magazine and Farmers Market and farmers feature writer for the Hawai’i HomeGrown Food Network.

Mahalo to our sponsors whose donations helped our bottom line:

  • American Apitherapy Society, Inc.
  • Bee Culture
  • Bee Mo Bettah
  • Big Island Bees
  • Big Island Packaging
  • Hawaiian Springs
  • Island Princess Macadamia Nut Company
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds
  • Mann Lake
  • Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Company
  • Miki Macs
  • Paradise Nectar
  • RevHoney
  • Royal Hawaiian Honey
  • Rusty’s Hawaiian
  • Sustainable Island Products
  • Volcano Island Honey Company

Mahalo to our amazing volunteers who made it happen:

  • Chandra Boyd
  • Pat Chu
  • Cary Dizon
  • HASS Bee Club members:  Rose Hanks, Dillan, and Juniper.
  • Heather O’Connell
  • Amy Ketner
  • Sean Kirkpatrick
  • Val Kimbrough
  • Star Newland
  • Jen Rasmussen
  • Larry Reiss
  • Randy and Danny Sosnansky
  • Allen and Juanipa Sylvester
  • Rod Vanderhoef
  • Catarina Zaragoza-Dodge

And most of all our Registrar, Pattie Rechtman, upon whose shoulders most of the organization and records keeping fell.

Thank you to Danielle Downey and Lauren Rusert of the State Apiarist Office who attended the event and made themselves available to the many beekeeper attendees who had lots to talk about.

We also wish to thank Alice Moon of the Downtown Improvement Association and Sam Robinson of Lets Grow Hilo for providing the venue and their helpers Georiga Pinsky and Lonnie who also contributed significantly to the overall organization of the event.

2nd Annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge

Media Release:

The Big Island Beekeepers Association wants to get word to beekeepers and apiaries throughout the state, alerting them to requirements for entering the 2nd Annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge. This year the honey challenge is being held in conjunction with the Western Apicultural Society Conference set for Sept. 12-15 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala coast, according to Cary Dizon, BIBA president.

For the 2011 Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge, samples in either liquid or solid form must be collected and bottled by the contestant from hives located within the state. No heat may be applied in the extracting or bottling process and no additives, seeding or flavoring may be used. Entries also should not be processed in any way such as “creaming,” “spinning,” or “churning.” Honey may be strained through mesh no smaller than 500 microns.

The deadline for honey producers to submit completed entry forms and payment is Sept. 2. Honey samples can be mailed with entry forms and payment by Sept. 2 or the samples alone can be submitted in person between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the Komohana Agriculture Research & Extension Office in Hilo or Kainaliu Extension Office in Kainaliu, Kona. Contestants may submit multiple samples for judging, with separate entry forms and a $5 entry fee for each submission.

Completed entry forms and check must be mailed to 2011 Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge, c/o Catarina Zaragoza, RR2 Box 3342, Pahoa, HI 96778. Other arrangements for submitting honey may be coordinated with Zaragoza but Sept. 9 is the absolute deadline for accepting the samples. Complete instructions, rules and entry forms are available from Zaragoza whose email is catzdodge@gmail.com or phone her at (808) 965-5387.

Official judging for the honey challenge will be held Monday, Sept. 12 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. A People’s Choice public tasting event will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the hotel, with all winners of the 2011 Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge announced at the conclusion of the Sept. 14 public tasting.

The public is also invited to participate in the Western Apicultural Society Conference, including post-conference bee-related workshops. More information about the conference is available at: http://groups.ucanr.org/WAS/ConferenceInformation/ or at http://bibahawaiibees.org/blog/.

Island Bees Under Assault, BIBA Survey to Document Extent of Lost Colonies

Media Release:

An island-wide survey of beekeepers is being conducted throughout January by the Big Island Beekeepers Association (BIBA) in conjunction with the Honey Bee Education Project.  Unofficial accounts indicate hundreds, if not thousands, of bee colonys have died on the Big Isle during 2010, according to Cary Dizon, BIBA president.

“Hawaii beekeeping has suffered a 1, 2, 3 punch in the last three years, with Varroa mites arriving in 2008, bringing with them an undetected Nosema epidemic, and culminating in a Small Hive Beetle infestation that swept the island in just 3 months,” Dizon said.

BIBA has undertaken the survey of both commercial and hobbyist beekeepers to document how many healthy, managed colonies remain as well as to get a record of how many colonies have been lost in the past year.  Reports of feral honey bee colony losses is also needed, Dizon said.

“We plan to use this information to bring public attention to the present crisis and hopefully get support for supplies and equipment needed to replace lost colonies and meet the needs of pollinator-dependent agriculture on our island.”

Members of the BIBA assist with a hive removal from my house

The 12-question survey asks for the location of the colonies by district as well as the cause of loss of bee colonies and treatments used for pest control in order to “ensure the data we gather is a complete and true picture of beekeeping on Hawaii Island” at this point in time, Dizon said, adding BIBA will make the statistical information available publicly in February. “No data will be released that identifies individual beekeepers,” she stated.

BIBA is working to bring apicultural specialists to the Big Island to help local beekeepers and their bees survive the recent wave of invasive pests as well as to learn new techniques for increasing the number of managed colonies on the island. The state agriculture department forbids the importation of bees to Hawaii and there is a ban on transporting bees between islands.  The loss of so many colonies on the island has created a shortage that must be addressed locally, according to Dizon.

The questionnaire is available online at: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BPB4DKNLE/

Beekeepers who are not online and want a copy of the survey are asked to contact Jenny Bach at 640-0278 or Frankie Stapleton at 965-8945, or write to Cary Dizon, BIBA President, P.O. Box 603, Kurtistown, HI 96760.   Completed copies of the survey should be mailed to Dizon by Jan. 24, either online or by USPS to the above-mentioned address.

BIBA is also seeking reports of feral honey bee colonies as well as general information on the state of beekeeping on the Big Island and/or the BIBA questionnaire. Feral honey bees have suffered as much as managed bees from the epidemic of disease and pests.  Reporting them will enable local beekeepers to rescue and treat them, according to the BIBA president.

Dizon asks that all comments be emailed to biba@bibahawaiibees.org.

This fall, BIBA will host the international Western Apicultural Society annual convention  in Waikoloa. Anyone interested in beekeeping, either as a business or hobbyist, is invited to join the Big Island Beekeepers Association. Meetings are held quarterly at the Komohana Agricultural Extension Service building in Hilo. Call 966-7421 for more information or visit www.bibahawaiibees.org online.