There are over 300 unique types of honey in the U.S. The Good Food Awards will showcase honeys most distinctive in clarity and depth of flavor, produced by beekeepers practicing good animal husbandry and social responsibility. From rooftop urban hives to busy bees pollinating organic orchards and meadows filled with wildflowers, awards will be given out in Liquid & Naturally Crystallized, Creamed, Comb and Infused Honey subcategories.
The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the honey community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the honey standard are and who will be judging this year.
Senior R&D and QA Chemist at Micro-Tracers, Inc.
Mark served in the Peace Corps in El Salvador from 2005 to 2007 and started keeping bees as part of his agriculture/forestry extension work. He has over 5 years’ experience teaching beekeeping in San Francisco and graduated with the inaugural class of California Master Beekeepers. Since the first year of the GFA Honey Category in 2016, he has contributed as a committee chair, committee member or volunteer. He keeps Italian honey bees in the Bayview – his bees love the local blackberry flowers and he loves their amber honey.
Programs, Events & Operations at C200 and Broadway Angels
Leslie is an avid honey collector, urban grower, sustainable food enthusiast, and a dedicated GFA volunteer, serving as a Chocolate Judge, a Grains Judge, and GFA photographer in previous years. She was also a published author, supporting and featuring many of San Francisco’s independent restaurants, small businesses, and local experiences. Her experience as a professional photographer and capturing beautiful dishes is what inspired her to go beyond the plate to better understand where good food comes from. She is currently studying entrepreneurship, food systems, and the future of food. She is proud to work with the Good Food Foundation in the shared goal to seek out and recognize the nation’s most delicious and responsible food products.
In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, honey entries must meet the following standards:
- Produced in the USA or US territories.
- Be the bona fide product of the entrant’s own bees.
- Harvested between July 2020 and July 2021.
- Extracted with minimal heat (100°) and, after extraction, not exposed to heat greater than 120°.
- Strained and/or filtered to leave in pollen.
- If made with inclusions (such as fruit and herbs):
- If grown domestically, they are locally sourced wherever possible; traceable; and grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.
- If not grown domestically on a commercial scale, they are farm-direct, certified organic or Fair Trade certified.
- Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,* as exemplified through integrating these practices:
- Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
- Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
- For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.*
Additionally, beekeepers who own and/or manage the bees locally and extract the honey must:
- Practice good animal husbandry, including:
- Do not locate hives within a five-mile radius of crops that receive heavy usage of agrochemicals.**
- Do not regularly relocate any hives major distances for commercial pollination services.***
- Manage hives using minimal chemical interventions (miticides, antibiotics, etc.), in response to need and never prophylactically, following prescribed application guidelines.
- Feed balanced nutrition when needed, that is non-GMO and free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
- Practice social responsibility, including:
- Engage their community in education.
- If staff is employed in tending the hives and harvesting the honey, they are treated respectfully and given fair compensation.
*Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.
**The Good Food Foundation acknowledges that the 5-mile range will exclude entry of honeys harvested in areas of agricultural acreage in the Midwestern heartland, California’s Central Valley and other heavily farmed sections of the country This criterion reflects our concerns for the long-term health of bees in monoculture farming and the higher presence of trace chemicals in honeys from areas of heavy agrochemical application.
***Hives may be moved short distances for appropriate forage.
The Good Food Foundation has deep respect for the work of all beekeepers who are practicing responsible husbandry and caring for the health of pollinators. We therefore invite beekeepers in these conventionally-farmed regions, who are creating healthy, abundant, diverse, agrochemical-free pollinator habitat, to enter. They will be asked to provide compelling documentation of their work to balance the surrounding environs by providing plentiful local forage for their hives.
Additionally, honey entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:
- Liquid & Naturally Crystallized