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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

Senior Product Manager at Curology

Erin is a backyard beekeeper, sustainable food enthusiast and a dedicated GFA volunteer, having been a Pantry Judge and a Honey Judge before joining as a Honey Co-Char in 2018. At KQED, Erin 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 farm. At Blue Bottle Coffee, Erin developed internal software 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 nation’s most delicious and responsible food products.

Mark Carlson

R&D Scientist at Micro-Tracers, Inc.

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. He keeps Italian, Carniolan and Buckfast honey bees in the Bayview – his bees love the local blackberry flowers and he loves their amber honey.

Committee Members

Kim Flottum, Editor, Bee Culture Magazine
Tim and Nicole Lindsey, Owners, Detroit Hives
Sarah Red-Laird, Owner, Bee Girl


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.
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity, inclusion, and justice in all levels of their business.

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.

*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


Kelly Knapp

Owner, Miss Bee Haven Honey

Gerhard Eschelbeck

CA Master Beekeeper

Lisa Eschelbeck

CA Master Beekeeper

Marc Johnson

Board Member/Instructor, SF Beekeepers

Judith Mandel

Coffee Buyer & Quality Manager, Philz Coffee

Kathleen Hayes

Pastry Instructor, San Francisco Cooking School

Kristen Garrett

Wholesale Account Manager, Dandelion Chocolate