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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.



Erin Ferguson

Program Manager at Blue Bottle Coffee – Oakland, CA

Erin has been a dedicated GFA participant, volunteering as a judge for both Pantry and Honey before co-chairing Honey. She is a backyard beekeeper and sustainable food enthusiast. At KQED she contributed to news coverage of Bay Area food deserts, at Blue Chair Fruit she worked weekly Farmers Markets finding joy in every season and gratitude for our farms, and at Blue Bottle Coffee Erin developed internal tools to minimize over-ordering and coffee waste. She is proud to work with the Good Food Foundation in the shared goal to seek out and recognize the nations most delicious and responsible food products.

Mark Carlson

R&D Scientist at Microtracers, Inc. – San Francisco, CA

Mark Carlson 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. His Italian and Carniolan honey bees in the Bayview love the local blackberry flowers.

Committee Members

Kim Flottum, Editor, Bee Culture Magazine
Tim and Nicole Lindsey, Detroit Hives


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 August 2018 and August 2019.
  • 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.
  • Hives are managed by a beekeeper that is an upstanding member of the good food community, oriented toward growing their business in harmony with a better food system.

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 (miteicides, 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.

*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.

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.

**Hives may be moved short distances for appropriate forage.


Additionally, honey entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:

  • Liquid & Naturally Crystallized
  • Creamed
  • Comb
  • Infused


Mio Yoshimura

Cost Plus World Market, Assistant Buyer, Cookies, Cakes, Baking and Breakfast

Darra Goldstein

Food Writer and Editor

Lisa Eschelbeck

, California Master Beekeeper

Clara Costello

Equipment Manager and Creative Consultant, University of Minnesota Bee Squad

Sylvia Charles

Founder, Just Date Syrup

Kate Campbell

VP of Operations, Kango

Gerhard Eschelbeck

California Master Beekeeper

Peter Wohlers

VP, Customer Engineering, Finix Payments

Robin Jones

Beekeeper, Honey Girl Grows

Michael Washburn

Garden Manager, Blackberry Farm

Kathleen Hayes

Pastry Instructor, Recreational Classes, San Francisco Cooking School