For a complete list of the 6th Annual Finalists and Winners
7th Annual International
Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest
(now accepting entries)
Contest Rules Contest FAQs Register Online below@bottom
Honey. The concentrated essence of plants collected by thousands of individual bees. Each a blend of the unique flora within foraging distance. Different within each colony in a single place - indeed, different within cells of a single comb. Different throughout the progressing season and noticeably different year to year.
Think of the variety of plants within an area. Consider how they respond to sunlight and rain, temperature and humidity. Even within a small distance microcosms produce subtle changes. The mineral content of every square meter of the earth varies due to eons of weathering and seismic shift - differences reflected in honey.
Taste. A Sense all humans share. Wikipedia says an average of 3,00-10,000 taste receptors dot the human tongue - but they are marvelously imprecise in what they convey. We all more or less agree what is salty, bitter or sweet - but how can certain individuals reject a fruit as too bitter when others find them delicious?
Perhaps it is less about the chemical receptors on our tongues than it is how our brains interpret the sensations it receives? Ask people to rank what tastes best to them - and their answers will likely contradict the opinion of others sampling the same thing.
There exist in this World bees, people, and plants wonderfully exotic to each other. The goal of the Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest is to bring them together to share this intersection of Honey with Taste. The Center welcomes the prospect of ‘discovering’ varietals and blends from all parts of the Globe.
Entries must be received or post-marked by November 15, 2017. Due to difficulties and expense in shipping, International entries may be packaged in unbreakable containers (1 liter or 3 pounds US) which the Center will transfer into glass queenline bottles. Two beekeeper labels must be included for attaching. Please visit Contest Rules.
Grand Prize is $2500 U.S, blue ribbon, name added to trophy and Center website, and bragging rights for the whole world. We will also award $150 each to winners in ten categories - which will be determined based upon the qualities and quanty of entries received.
There will be numerous less publicized tastings to narrow the field but Winners will be announced at a ticketed cocktail reception to be held at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville NC.
For answers to frequently asked questions click here.
Due to the nature of tasting so many delicious flavors - it is necessary that numerous tastings be judged - with the winners moving on to 'regionals' 'semi-finals' etc. until we announce where and by whom the Best Tasting Honey in the World was produced.
The Finals each year are held at the beginning of the ensuing year.
2/9/2017 10:00 PM
TFinals Judging Results
6th Annual International Black Jar Honey Contest
GRANDPRIZE: Rachel Coventry, Champaign, IL, U.S.A.
"The primary early nectar source entering our honey is apple. The 2016 crop year provided a heavy apple bloom and optimal weather for foraging. Eight other small fruit crops on our farm influence the honey by providing unique fruity tones. Wildflowers, red and white clover and dandelion’s in our region round out the complex blend of flora available to our bees. Each year our honey carries a light golden color and a rich mellow flavor as its trademark. For the last two years, I have attempted to analyze the flower sources most visited by our bees. I did this by combining bee spotting with microscopic analysis of the pollen carried to the hive, and verifying my observations through the use of a pollen catalogue. All of us at Curtis Orchard are incredibly honored that our honey was the winning selection in this prestigious world competition. "
PEOPLES' CHOICE AWARD Francesco Colafemmina Puglia, Italy
"La Pecheronza is a creation of Francesco Colafemmina, classicist and beekeeper, that operates between Puglia and Basilicata region in Southern Italy. Our coriander honey is produced in the National Park of "Alta Murgia", a land of shepherds and wheat farmers, famous for its karst rocks rich in mineral salts. Coriander is typically cultivated in soil used for wheat and forage for cows in the area between Altamura and Spinazzola. Our coriander 2016 has a percentage of withe clover too, the typical coconut flavor of coriander, and a creamy soft crystallization. The goal of our beekeeping company is to educate consumers to the rediscovery of the strong relationship between our Puglia land, our traditional flavors, and the ability of bees to collect into a jar the characteristic of a specific terroir."
Central Region: Stephanie Brewer, Perryville, MO
Northwest Region: Buddy Depew, Port Angeles WA
Northeast Region: Frank Woods, Warwick, RI
Southwest Region: Eugene Zuspan, Dos Palos CA
Southeast Region: Leigh Knot, Burnsville, NC
"Sourwood" Sharry Mikell, Old Fort, NC
Clubs" Champion Buncombe County Beekeepers, Colleen Thomas Leicester, NC
International Multi-Floral: Yael Farbstein, Israel
U.S. Mono-Floral Jay Parsons Cornelia, GA
International Mono-Floral Francesco Colafemmina Puglia, Italy
6th Annual International Black Jar Honey Contest Finals
“World’s Best Tasting Honey”
Asheville, NC, U.S.A.
International Mono-Floral Sourced Honeys
These are honeys produced from a single source, i.e. nectar from the flowers of a single type of plant. These require extra diligence from the beekeeper to keep the honey separate from other sources and represent a rarer and therefore more valuable product.
Entries in this category are from outside the continental U.S.
5545 “Coriander” Francesco Colafemmina , Puglia Region, Italy
6406 “Asphodelus” Francesco Colafemmina, Puglia Region, Italy
5823 “Fir” Honey-Dew Brune Kozinc, Lesce, Slovenia
International Multi-Floral Sourced Honeys
Honey extracted from comb that contains nectar from many plants is considered ‘Wildflower’ - a term that indicates the flavor cannot not be ascribed to a single plant.
Wildflower honeys may be collected from colonies foraging on many diverse sources at one time, or may represent a longer period of time depending on when the beekeeper chose to harvest. Entries in this category are from outside the continental U.S.
1492 “Wildflower” Yael Farbstein, Israel
4295 “Organic Wildflower” Edina Bodrovniczka, Rhodes, Greece
7688 “MultiFloral de Jalcon” Manuel Valido Martel, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Southwest Region U.S.
Unless specifically designated as from a particular source, such as “Sage”, these honeys consist of nectar from various flowering plants in the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada.
6987 Dark “Wildflower” Eugene Zuspan, Dos Palos, California
5978 Light “Wildflower” Eugene Zuspan, Dos Palos, California
2026 2015 “Wildflower” Paul Del Piero, Monterey, California
U.S. Mono-Floral Sourced Honeys
Within the expanse of the continental United States grow many plants whose nectar is either so abundant or especially prized that they are named on the label. Examples of this are “Fireweed”, “Snowberry”, “Clover” “Tupelo” “Orange Blosom” and “Locust”. Honeys from throughout the U.S. which bear such designation were grouped in this category.
1746 “Sage” Paul Del Piero, Monterey, California
4289 “Tulip Poplar” Jay Parsons, Cornelia, Georgia
2154 “Sumac” Jay Parsons, Cornelia, Georgia
Sourwood is the prized and well-known honey of the southern Appalachian mountains. It blooms in mid-summer at a time when very few other nectar sources are available. It is light with a very distinctive taste. Being local and so influential upon the sub-conscious palettes of our judges, it is given it’s own category. This is also our most competitive category - due to the shear volume of entries.
8487 “Sourwood” Sharry Mikell, Old Fort, North Carolina
3356 “Sourwood” #3 Gary Ellenburg, Liberty, South Carolina
9093 “Sourwood” #2 Slade Jarrett, Baldwin, Georgia
Northeast Region U.S.
These honeys represent blends of nectar produced from plants flowering in the states along our northern Atlantic seaboard: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
2347 “Summer Wildflower” Jeffrey Thomas, Delanco, New Jersey
6742 Dark “Wildflower” David Smith III, Emporium, Pennsylvania
1094 “Wildflower” Frank Woods, Warwick, Rhode Island
There are Beekeepers Associations, or Clubs, in almost every county of the U.S. and around the World. We established this category to encourage them to hold their own local “Black Jar” blind tasting contest among their members. Entries in this category are sponsored by their Clubs in what is becoming one of our most competitive slots.
6706 Dan McKinney, Toe Cane Beekeepers, Little Switzerland, NC
6297 Colleen Thompson, Buncombe Beekeepers, Leicester, NC
5795 James Poe, Hendersonville Chapter, Hendersonville, NC
These honeys are from the continental U.S. - and we took the liberty of including British Columbia in Canada. States comprising this region include Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
4532 “Blackberry” Darcy DePew, Port Angeles, Washington
6389 “Wildflower” Buddy DePew, Port Angeles, Washington
5248 “Wildflower” Claudia Pavon, British Columbia, Canada
Our biggest geographical area includes nectar from the mid-south to the Dakotas:
Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois. This area shares many similar species of flora in a landscape largely drained by the Mississippi River.
8196 “Wildflower” Rachel Coventry, Champaign, Illinois
3927 “Wildflower” Dale Kuehn, Posen, Michigan
9968 “Wildflower” Stephanie Brewer, Perryville, Missouri
The Center for Honeybee Research is based in Asheville, NC where there are more than 800 beekeepers within 30 miles of the city. North Carolina has more individual beekeepers than any other state. Given that Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida and the Gulf States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are within this group - it makes for a very competitive category.
7468 “Wild Flower” Marc Eden, Swannanoa, North Carolina
9543 “Wild Flower” Leigh Knott, Burnsville, North Carolina
8524 “Wildflower” David Stallings, Hendersonville, North Carolina
GRAND PRIZE CHAMPION
The “World’s Best Tasting Honey” was selected by a panel of carefully selected judges (listed below) who generously volunteered their time and focus during a luncheon held on Feb. 7, 2017. The slate had been narrowed to (30) Finalists via multiple elimination rounds, all of which consisted of “blind” tastings by panels of at least five judges, whose scores were averaged - highest advancing to the next round. When a Grand Champion is selected, the next highest scoring entry becomes the Winner of that Category.
6th Annual Grand Prize Rachel Coventry, Champaign, Illinois
PEOPLES’ CHOICE AWARD
The Annual International Black Jar Contest aims to bring attention to the serious challenges facing honey bees and beekeepers in an increasingly globalized environment. It also seeks to educate the Public about the diversity and quality of this under-appreciated food. In the gathering of it bees do an invaluable service in pollinating our crops and flora. Our most recent Event allowed attendees to sample all thirty Finalists in the wonderful atmosphere of the 12th floor banquet room of the Renaissance Hotel. (The Center maintains the two beloved hives on their roof:) Nearly 150 cast ballots in a less formal atmosphere of wine, music, and appetizers and their scores averaged to compare with the results of our Official Judging. We will continue to expand and refine the Black Jar Contest in the years ahead.
Peoples’ Choice “Coriander” Francesco Colafemmina, Puglia Region, Italy
Official Judges of the 6th Annual International Black Jar Honey Contest:
Executive Chef and co-owner of Cu’rate and Nightbell, award-winning chef, cookbook author, and champion of sustainable food. www.heirloomhg.com
Professional hedonist, writer for MountainXpress, WNC Magazine, Edible Asheville, Paste, Citizen-Times. Singer/songwriter/musician JonathanAmmons@gmail.com
Weekly columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times providing quirky, yet thought-provoking opinions, often unconventional on conventional topics. Has worked as a student administrator for over 30 years winning numerous awards for her contributions to field of student affairs. firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry Pate Jr.
Well known tenor and community supporter Barry is also a surgeon and owner of WNC ENT at 285 McDowell Ave. http://www.wncent.com
Executive Chef for the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, a lifelong hospitality industry professional; passionate about good food, good beer and good honey. RichardPetrelli@wcghotels.com
Founder and Director of the ASAP Growing Minds program (www.growing-minds.org and www.asapconnections.org) Passionate about growing the farm to school/preschool movement. Has raised bees and loves honey. Once walked into an elementary school with15,000 bees. Emily@asapconnections.org
Founder & Director of Bee City USA® and Bee Campus USA, named 2015 US Pollinator Advocate of the Year by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. email@example.com. Website: www.beecityusa.org
After 20 years working as the Assistant Director for groups supporting those with HIV/AIDS, Butch currently sings with and is the Vice President of Cantaria-The Gay Men's Chorus of Asheville and President of butchOUT. firstname.lastname@example.org"
the AshVegas Food Fan, artist, graphic designer, and writer. email@example.com
Co-founder of West End Bakery in Asheville; her volunteer time is devoted to working with FEAST (Fresh, Easy, Affordable Sustainable Tasty ) http://feastasheville.com/