The wait is over. The results from the New Jersey Honey Show 2022 are in and I am thrilled to share that 4 of my 6 entries ranked in the top 3 of their corresponding category. I don’t have the judges' sheets yet, but as soon as I get them I will make notes to improve future submissions.
The Award Winning Submissions
This year I submitted entries in 6 categories: 3 honeys: Light, Amber and Dark, 2 cosmetics entries for Soap and Lip balm, and on entry in Photography.
Award Winning New Jersey Honey
Each entry consists of 3 jars of one pound of honey. They are judged in uniformity, cleanliness, absence of crystals, taste and, water content. You can check out a post I wrote about water content in honey here.
I submitted entries to the Light, Amber and Dark Honey categories, and my Dark Honey ranked second (the jars with the white lids on the right). This year was my first time submitting an entry to the Dark Honey category, and I’m pleased with the outcome.
You may wonder what makes one honey so different from the other. The color of honey depends on the floral source. For example linden honey is light yellow, and we have a lot of it in our area, and chestnut is a dark amber color, while Japanese bamboo is dark with wine red tones.
I also wanted to show you what goes into preparing honey for the show. In the following video you can see one honey jar that has some bubbles and tiny pieces of beeswax and other particles such as propolis or pollen from the hives, which needs to be removed manually without disturbing the rest of the jar. They are so small that they go through cheesecloth!
Removing those foreign particles is a labor of love using wet tissue, tooth-pics, and tiny spoons.
The other two jars are almost done. Can you spot the tiny piece of lint on the honey surface of the middle jar? Every time I open a jar to clean it, something else makes it in... Sigh.
I started making soap in the Fall of 2014. It was my second year keeping bees, and I didn't know what to do with all those beeswax cappings that were accumulating in the freezer.
Beeswax is a byproduct of honey harvesting, and it is a premium ingredient in skin care. My skin was extra dry, and I was tired of being itchy all the time, so I decided to start making my own soap with all that beeswax. By January 2015 I had reached a formula that had a creamy lather and left my skin moisturized, and I decided to submit my first soap to the New Jersey Honey Show, which ranked 2nd in the soap category! Since then, it's been a fun project to come up with a new soap for the Honey Show every year, and I have won many awards with them, including Best in Cosmetics Division in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
For the 2022 Honey Show, I submitted a rosemary soap with swirls of blue and purple mineral mica, with the colors of rosemary flowers. The soap ranked third. The competition must have been tough, because I thought this was one of my prettiest soaps ever. Don’t you think?
Natural Lip Balm With Beeswax: Second in Lip Balm Category
The lip balm category is a competitive one, because from the different skincare products we can make using beeswax, it is one of the easiest, and even beginner beekeepers venture into making lip balm. That means that there are usually lots of entries to compete against.
Our lip balm ranked second. It scored 99 out of 100! So close.
You never know if the judges will have a preference for tubes or tins, so it's always a guess. But I personally prefer tins that can be repurposed, as opposed to plastic tubes that will end up in a landfill.
I carry pills in my pocketbook in the empty lip balm tins long after the lip balm is finished.
Being eco-friendly is part of our mission at South Mountain Bees. We keep bees, and bees need a healthy planet. Besides using reusable tins, we care about the ingredients we use. We can't afford to use ingredients that are farmed hurting the environment, or chemicals ingredients that have no place in a natural lip balm. Therefore our lip balm is:
Our lip balm does not contain any synthetic preservatives or artificial hardeners.
It's handmade with a blend of skin loving oils, 100% pure beeswax, essential oils, and vitamin E oil.
Use it with confidence. Get it here!
Photography: Bees In Action
Bees move so fast that getting a good action shot takes a lot of patience, good timing, and a dose of good luck. This photo is from March 23, 2021. It looks like she’s carrying maple pollen. Do you see the light yellow pompom in her hind leg?
This entry ranked second in the category with 96 points, one point away from the division best with 97 points. So close again!
The New Jersey Honey Show
The New Jersey Honey Show is an annual competition that helps bring awareness of the importance of the honeybee in the production of food. This year the winning entries will be displayed at the New Jersey Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City.
We often forget that juicy peaches and crunchy apples make it all the way to our fruit bowl, because a commercial beekeeper brought bees to an orchard when the trees were in bloom. Many months will pass before the flower becomes a piece of fruit, but it was the labor of the bees pollinating the flowers that made it possible.
Of course there are other beneficial pollinators including native insects that also pollinate blooming trees, but the fact that bees can live in hives that can be transported make them a key component of modern agriculture.
Did you know?
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