For many beekeepers, the high point of the beekeeping season is exhibiting their honey at the various honey shows. Honey shows take place all over the country and all around the world.
To see just what a honey show is, we need to take a step back in history. Back to a day without telephones, TV, or radio. How did the bee farmer let its customers know they had the finest honey? You want people to buy your honey for the best price, but how did you let them know it was the best in the county? At the agricultural fair, that is how. So honey shows were the best way of advertising and they still are.
Honey shows of today are not much different from those of the first part of the 20th century. Most of the judging criteria from the past are still adhered to today. Honey shows vary in size and content with something to challenge all beekeeping skill levels. Some larger shows can include as many as thirty or more different classes in which beekeepers may enter honey and hive products.
There are classes for both the beginner and experienced beekeepers and non-beekeepers to show their skills as beekeepers. There is a class for almost every activity related to bees, beekeeping, and hive products.
It is advised that all beekeepers enter a honey show. Preparing honey and other hive products for display teaches a lot about the proper presentation. Preparing honey show entries is an exercise in how best to prepare your honey for sale.
Show Rules and Judging Criteria
Honey Show Judging criteria has not been standardized in the USA. The most popular Judging criteria used today is The Eastern Apicultural Society Honey Show judging criteria. In an EAS Honey Show, the judges are professors of apiculture, or students of apiculture under a professor's supervision, blue-ribbon winners of local, state and or local honey shows, or Professionals judging in their fields, such as crafts, mead or cooking. The judges use score cards and a 100 point scale to rate entries.
The Welsh Method is new to the USA and is gaining popularity in Florida and Georgia. The Welsh Beekeepers Association has partnered with the Young Harris College and University of Georgia Beekeeping Institute to provide training and certification for honey show judges. The University of Florida Bee College is also providing training for welsh honey show judges.
The Welsh Method does not use score cards. The Certified Welsh judge relies on his or her knowledge and experience when judging the show entries. Many honey shows are now being judged using the welsh honey judging standard. When you enter a honey show judged by a welsh honey judge, your submission is competing against all the entries in the show, as well as the welsh honey judging standard. A single entry in a class will not be guaranteed a win.
The best general advice I can give when entering a honey show is
read and understand the rules and judging criteria. Do not assume all
shows will have the same rules and criteria. By learning the judging
criteria used, you can better prepare your entry. Always prepare each
entry using the show's rules and judging criteria for the show you are
entering. This will give you the best chance to place.