Honey Show

Honey Show 2023

The 2023 Honey Show was held at Ilkley Rugby Club on Friday 10th November. This year’s stewards were Gill Legatt, Lisa Joyce and Eileen Akers, who logged and organised the 110 entries which were submitted by 23 members across 16 classes.

The show was judged by Ivor Flatman whose decisions were recorded and collated by the stewards to produce the final results shown below.

Many thanks to Ivor for, once again, giving us his time and expertise and to the stewards (and Lisa’s mum) for the smooth running of the show.

Further down this page, Gill has provided some tips for submitting entries to the Honey Show.

The photo is Jane’s winning entry in Class 14.

Beekeeper in yellow suit, showing recently drawn comb on a starter strip


Wharfedale Cup

FirstLaurie Prowse16 points
SecondRay Clarkson11 points
ThirdMartin Johnson9 points

Best in Show

Laurie Prowse

Best in Show – Laurie’s wax chess set
…and the Longbee also goes to Laurie

Speed Trophy

Jane Law

Jane receiving the Speed trophy from Matt

Longbee Trophy

Martin Johnson and Laurie Prowse

Martin with the Longbee Trophy

Halsall Trophy

Winners: Upper Wharfedale with 213 points (Lower Wharfedale had 197 points)
Total number of entries: 110 by 23 people (10 from Upper, 13 from Lower)

Individual Results

1. Light HoneyJane LawRichard Law
2. Medium HoneyMartin JohnsonJo JohnsonKate Turner
3. Dark HoneyAlan WilsonJ Bennett
4. Naturally SetOlly SykesAlan RawRay Clarkson
5. Heather HoneyMartin JohnsonAndrew HinchcliffeRay Clarkson
6. Heather MixLaurie ProwseRay ClarksonMartin Harrow
7. Frame of HoneyAndrew HinchcliffeLaurie ProwseOlly Sykes
8. Cut CombMartin JohnsonLaurie ProwseRay Clarkson
9. Jar Ready for SaleJo JohnsonLaurie ProwseGill Leggat
10. Wax BlockLaurie ProwseRay ClarksonRichard Law
11. Wax ExhibitLaurie ProwseRay ClarksonJane Law
12. CandlesRichard LawRay ClarksonLaurie Prowse
13. NoviceAlan RawRoger FordAnn Lofthouse
14. PhotoJane LawAlan WilsonLaurie Prowse
15. Honey CakeJane LawKate TurnerRay Clarkson
16. FlapjackOlly SykesWaleed Al MuhandisEileen Akers
Honey Show 2023 Results

Advice on Entering the Show

by Gill Legatt

Ivor Flatman – who was previously our Regional Bee Inspector – was available to judge again this year. His judging kit includes a torch, weighing scales and wooden coffee stirrers for tasting purposes, and he has a refractometer on hand if required. As he has done before, when the judging was over and the certificates and prizes were presented, Ivor gave us some of the thoughts that he’d had during judging so that we can learn and be even better prepared when we’re putting together our entries for the next Honey Show.

Ivor Flatman judging the honey classes

Some general tips – always bring spare lids so that the entries are presented with lids that are clean inside when removed for tasting. Most people had put the numbers in the correct places this year – about 1-2 cms up from the bottom of the jar.
If the honey is starting to granulate, it can be cleared by gentle warming – eg in warm water, up to 45 degrees, a few days before the show.

Classes 1-3: The grading glasses were again useful to help people decide whether they had light, medium or dark honey. Most were in the medium category with 5 in each of the light and dark classes. Ivor thought that most in these last two classes should actually have been in the medium category. The best of the light honey was in a 227gm jar and therefore shouldn’t have been submitted as the rules ask for entries to be in 454gm/1lb jars. He said it would have won apart from this mistake. Also, make sure honey for these classes is filtered properly as it should be as clear as possible.
Using his torch, Ivor checked each entry for clarity, for signs of granulation, and any foreign particles. In non heather honey, air bubbles can be minimised by allowing the honey to stand in buckets for a bit longer, and also any froth can be skimmed off before bottling.
Removing the lids shows whether any particles have risen to the top as well as allowing him to smell and taste and see the texture of each entry. There were a few jars which were downgraded as they were underweight – when holding up the full jar there should not be any air visible between the top of the honey and the lid. When removing the lids on a few jars there was evidence of slight corrosion inside, so use new lids.

Class 4: Naturally set honey. Ivor was looking for consistency – honey should not be too runny nor too solid. One entry had a lot of bubbles on top when he opened the lid, and Ivor said that this needed settling for longer before putting into the jar.

Class 5: Heather honey. Pure heather honey should be clear so that the light shines through the bubbles. The larger the bubbles, the purer the honey.

Class 6: Heather mix. Ivor could have awarded more certificates in this class as many entries were very good.

Class 7: Frames. In this class Ivor was looking for good depth of comb, frames that were filled to the edges and had level surfaces to make uncapping easier. Ivor remarked about how all the entries were different colours. He also commented that as the lovely box that held one of the frames had screws holding the lid in place, it would have been helpful if the person could have provided a screwdriver alongside it for the judge to open it easily.

Class 8: Cut comb. The weight should be net and not include the packaging. He likes the clear packets best as he can easily see how much honey had come out of the comb – it should not run out, and the comb should be capped both top and bottom. All entries were of the correct weight and in the correct packaging apart from one.

Class 9: As for sale. Most labels looked good but some jars did not include the requisite 454gms (can be as well as the 1lb). A Lot Number should be included unless the label states the actual date of collection. Must have tamperproof seals as well.

Class 10: Wax blocks. Just 3 entries in this class but all 3 illustrated what Ivor was looking for. The wax can be shiny or matt but must have a smooth finish on all sides. Generally, the lighter the colour the better as this is evidence of excellent filtering. Using the torch highlights the amount of debris contained in the wax. The aroma was good on all entries.

Class 11: Wax exhibit. In this class Ivor was looking for items made from pure beeswax, that had been well moulded, that were clean and a good colour. This year one of the entries – a wax chess set – also won the Best In Show certificate.

Class 12: Candles. Both candles should be identical. One of each pair was lit and allowed to burn, to show how the wick worked. This year they all burned well. The wick should be soaked in wax before use – which makes it easier to light and use. Remember to use the correct size of wick – the thicker the candle, the thicker the wick should be. When candles are blown out, it’s important that they actually go out promptly and do not continue to smoulder.

Class 13: Novice. There were 6 entries in this class. Make sure the lids are clean with no evidence of corrosion.

Class 14: Photo. Should be about any aspect of beekeeping and Ivor likes a picture that tells a story. It should be crystal clear and sharp. There were 5 entries, and the one that would have won was larger than A4 and so was downgraded to 3rd place. So check the size carefully.

Class 15: Honey cake. In this class Ivor was looking for an even light texture and a good taste. He thought that the requirement to glaze with 2 tablespoons of honey should be removed as this makes the cake sticky and difficult to handle. He also questioned the cooking time in the recipe as most cakes were undercooked and he thought they needed 15 minutes longer in the oven. Interestingly the one in the square tin was not underdone. He suggests that the instructions should require the same size tin which would then make judging fairer.

Class 16: Flapjack. For this one the key was how well the flapjack held together when cut, as well as how the fruit was integrated with the other ingredients.
It’s really interesting being a Honey Show steward as you get to see and hear how and why the judge makes the decisions. The scoring system is all set up and easy to operate, so if you’re interested in being a steward next year, please do let any one of the committee know.
That’s all the comments and good luck for next year!