Categorized | Agriculture

Bee Love Apiaries’ honey wins inaugural challenge

Shawn Harris, of Wao Kele Farms in Hawaiian Acres, winner of the Peoples' Choice Award, and Jenny Bach of Papaaloa's Bee Love Apiaries, overall winner in the solid honey competition. (Photo courtesy of Big Island Beekeepers Association)


Jenny Bach of Papaaloa’s Bee Love Apiaries dominated the competition Tuesday in the Big Island Beekeepers Association’s first Hawaiian Honey Challenge, with 89.5 of a possible 100 points.

Held at Hilo’s Komohana Extension Service Ag Building, Bach’s solid honey from fruit, citrus and palm flowers in lower Puna outpaced all other competitors in judging based on aroma, appearance, taste and texture. A commercial beekeeper with eight years’ experience, she maintains 34 colonies on the Big Island.

Winner in the liquid honey division was Francis and Joyce Takahashi of Lihue, Kauai, with an entry gathered from bees dining on mac nut, citrus and tropical blossoms harvested in the Kalaheo area. The Takahashis have been beekeeping hobbyists for the last two years and have a total of five colonies. Their honey label is Miki Macs.

Shawn Harris of Hawaiian Acres’ Wao Kele Farm captured the Peoples’ Choice award with a liquid lehua and dragon fruit honey. A commercial beekeeper of five years’ experience, he and his brother Michael Harris maintain more than 50 colonies of bees.

Runners-up in the individual categories were:

* Best aroma (liquid): John Hanson’s honey from Kapoho-area blossoms

* Best aroma (solid): John Hanson’s ohia blossom honey from Volcano

* Best appearance (liquid): A 2-way tie between Steelgrass Farms of Kapaa, Kauai, and of Hilo. The Kauai honey came from palm blossoms in Kapaa while the other was a Hilo blend.

* Best appearance (solid): Wao Kele Farm’s kiawe and coconut blend

* Best taste (liquid): A 3-way ties between two of Wao Kele’s honeys, the Peoples’ Choice lehua and dragon fruit and a liquid kiawe and coconut blend, and Dona Willoughby of Laakea Community’s ohia, tremia and garden plants blend

* Best taste (solid) : Henry Iucker’s Daddy’s Stolen Honey of Hilo with a lehua honey gathered in Volcano

* Best texture (liquid): Ruby Piano’s Puna wildflower blend

* Best texture (solid): Paul Patnode of Volcano with his lehua honey gathered from Fern Forest

Judges for the sweet competition were Margarita Hopkins of Hawaii County Department of Research and Development; Hope Johnson, raw food advocate and food writer; Sonia Martinez, cookbook author and freelance food writer; Sandra Barr Riveria, former chef of Merriman’s Restaurant and current teacher and writer; and Richard Short, beekeeper since the age of 10 and manager of the UHH Agriculture Farm Lab.

Cary Dizon, newly elected BIBA president, said she appreciated the judges’ hard work and difficult task in judging 33 different honeys. She also praised the professionalism, patience and dedication of emcee Ken Hupp, UHH University Relations Public Information Officer.

For more information about bees, honey production, and BIBA activities, visit the

Honey judge Richard Short, UH-Hilo Farm Manager, samples one of the 33 entries from around the state. Others judging the honeys are (from left) Sonia Martinez, Sandra Barr Riveria, and Margarita Hopkins. (Photo courtesy of Big Island Beekeepers Association)

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