Categorized | Agriculture

Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge winners announced


The 2nd annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge culminated in the public tasting Sept. 14 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. At the event, the public was treated to a demonstration of encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, by John Matsushita of Volcano.

The challenge is sponsored by the Big Island Beekeepers Association and promotes the quality honeys produced by state beekeepers.

This year, the public was invited to sample 42 entries from across the state to select the “People’s Choice” award.

Earlier in the week, the samples were formally evaluated in four criteria and two categories (solid and liquid) by five judges, who selected for their interest in honey and their discerning palates.

The winners of the formal judging as well as the People’s Choice were announced at the end of the Public Tasting.

The results were:

* Overall winner in the liquid category: Christmas berry, wild flower honey from Pahoa submitted by Ron Hanson, Best Big Island Bees

* Overall winner in the solid category: Ohia Lehua flower honey from Volcano submitted by Henry Iucker, Daddy’s Stolen Honey

* Winner of the People’s Choice Award: Ohia Lehua honey from Glenwood submitted by John Hanson.

Runners up in the individual categories were:

* Best appearance (liquid): Honey derived from multiple fruit blossoms (citrus, passion flower, avocado, various fruit trees, beginning Jacaranda) from Upcountry Maui submitted by Michael McCoy, Ainalani Farms.

* Best appearance (solid): Ohia Lehua honey submitted by Shawn Harris, Wao Kele Farm.

* Best aroma (liquid): Macadamia, tropical flower and citrus honey from Kalaheo, Kauai submitted by Joyce Takahashi, Miki Macs.

* Best aroma (solid): Mixed wild flora honey from Mountain View submitted by Patrick Weder, Lotus Buddhist Monastery.

* Best texture (liquid): Albizia, citrus, palm and guava honey from Lower Puna submitted by Jen Rasmussen, Paradise Nectar.

* Best texture (solid): Ohia Lehua honey from Glenwood submitted by John Hanson.

* Best taste (liquid): Albizia and palm honey from Kurtistown submitted by Cary Dizon.

* Best taste (solid): Mango honey from Kalapana submitted by Ron Hanson, Best Big Island Bees.

Judges for the sweet competition included: Danielle Downey, state apiary specialist; Stephen Coffee, science instructor in local schools; Jane Horike, county economic development specialist who grew up with bees and a passion for local foods and products; Hope Johnson, raw food advocate and food writer; Sonia Martinez, cookbook author and freelance food writer.

The judges, who spent more than five hours tasting honeys, were rewarded with gift baskets that included honeys from four of the best known apiaries on the Island: Volcano Island Honey Company, Big Island Bees, Mo Bettah Honey, and Weo Kele Farms plus Honey and Mele Macs from Big Island Princess.

These sponsors are the contest’s major contributors to whom the contest organizers owe a special debt of gratitude.

The contest organizers included registrar Catarina Zaragoza and the members of the challenge committee, Vo Collins-Toribo, Pat Chu, Cary Dizon, Sonia Martinez, Jen Rasmussen, and Wendy Westlake. Others who lent a hand include: Maria “DiDi” Diaz, Margarita “DayDay” Hopkins, Mike Klungness and Frankie Stapleton.

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