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Posted: 06 August 2016 by Anne Ashford

Waxing lyrical at a honey show

Honey shows offer beekeepers the opportunity to put their work to the test and see if the products from their hives meet up to the exacting standards of the judges.

And it was with that thought of ‘it’s for my own good’ in mind that I subjected my work to the eagle eye of those far more capable than me.

Firstly, the score! Two firsts, a second and a highly commended - not too bad.

Blocks of gloriously glowing, sunshine-yellow wax recovered from this year’s honey comb cappings brought me a coveted blue card; and a photo taken at the Khajuraho Temples in India, better known as the home of the Kamasutra (!), also beat off the competition.

When it comes to honey, my best place was a cream coloured, highly commended card – I need to slightly increase the size of the weight measurement typeface on the labels, which is controlled by government regulations.

And although I describe my honey as ‘raw, cold extracted and unpasteurised’, the judges advised additional filtering. Previously it was filtered through a specialist double sieve; now I’ve added a fine filtering cloth to the process which was purchased from beekeeping supplier David Pearce that very day.

I’m hoping that next year my additional preparation, plus ignoring some of the tips I discovered on YouTube, will get me into the running.

And, of course, it’s hats off to the judges who have a great deal to contend with. They have to pass an exacting exam and arm themselves with a long list of equipment in order to do the job. If you’re interested, here it is!

a set of standard grading glasses;
a hand towel (linen);
a section template or graduated rule;
a tape measure at least 2 metres long, for measuring the size of the base of
six tulip glasses for sampling mead, a spittoon for expelling sampled mead;
a thin section stainless steel knife for cutting cakes;
a magnifying glass;
a note book, pencil and ball pen;
an electric torch (with spare bulb and batteries);
a minimum of six honey tasting rods and two honey jars or tumblers;
(plastic disposable spatulas are also acceptable);
a white coat and white hat;
a corkscrew;
a penknife;
a box of matches for lighting candles;
a damp cloth in a plastic bag for wiping sticky hands;
an apple, dry biscuit or other suitable means of refreshing the palate;
the show schedule;
a gauge or rule for measuring the height of the weight marking on the honey jar
labels. e.g. 4mm for 454g honey jars.
a Refractometer and Honey Hydrometer if deemed