Information on the Third Annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge

The third annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge (HNHC) will be held in conjunction with the Hilo Harvest Festival on Saturday November 10th, in downtown Hilo Hawaii. This year’s Hilo Harvest Festival is dedicated to honeybees and beekeeping. Beekeepers from throughout the State of Hawaii are encouraged to submit entries of their favorite liquid, solid, and/or comb honeys for judging at this event.

The drop dead date for submissions to the Challenge is Friday, October 26th. Anything received after that date will be returned to the sender unopened.  This means that to receive the forms you need for a submission you should contact the Challenge Registrar (Pattie at well ahead of time to allow her to send you these items through the mail, and for you to return them to her through the mail by the deadline.

The requirements to be considered a Hawaiian Natural Honey are:

  • Samples must be collected and bottled by the contestant from apiaries located in the State of Hawai’i.
  • No heat may be used in the extracting or bottling process.
  • No additives, seeding or flavoring may be used.
  • Honey may be “strained” (strainer mesh size no smaller than 500 microns) but not “filtered” (strainer mesh size smaller than 500 microns).
  • The honey should not be processed in any way such as “creaming,” “spinning,” “churning,” or other manipulations.

The categories of competition will be the floral varieties of the honey, such as Kiawe, Ohia/Lehua, Coconut, and others. Multifloral varieties will be placed in one of three “Tropical Multifloral” categories; light, amber, or dark. Certain unique categories of varietal honeys may consist of only one entry.

There will be both a formal judging and an informal public vote for the best honey. The formal judging will be conducted by a panel of five judges selected for their culinary expertise. They will judge the entries based upon the four criteria of taste, texture, appearance and aroma. For any entry to win a prize, it must receive an overall score of at least 80 out of 100. A potential of five awards (Best Appearance, Best Aroma, Best Texture, Best Taste, and Best in Show) will be distributed for each type of honey (solid, liquid, or comb) within each of the competition categories (floral varieties). The “People’s Choice Award” is given to the most popular of all the entries as determined by the results of the informal public vote, tallied after the public tasting.

All contestants will receive a summary of the judge’s evaluation. Winners will receive a certificate and a sheet of stickers that may be affixed to their labels indicating that they won an award at this year’s Challenge. Winners may also purchase a Challenge T-shirt imprinted with the words “Award Winner”.

The Hawaiian Natural Honey Competition is the only event of its type in the United States that we are aware of, that focuses exclusively on honey in its natural state, and which does not give a priority to appearance over other characteristics.

The goal of the Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge is to 1) increase public awareness of the superior quality of the natural honey that is available within the State of Hawaii, and thereby help Hawaiian beekeepers increase their profitability by increasing demand for their products, and to 2) provide feedback to entrants of the Challenge that can then be used to produce even better honeys in the future.

For further information, or to receive an entry packet, please contact the Challenge Registrar Pattie at

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