You already know your honey is good. Your mum likes it. That supportive neighbour has never handed back a jar. And the Vicar was delighted with your contribution to the harvest festival but he sounded just as delighted with that tin of artichoke hearts you gave the year before. You need an objective judge. You need an experienced honey judge. You need to enter your honey in the Sleaford Beekeepers Honey Show (Caythorpe Village Hall, Saturday 21st October).
Now, before you all start making up excuses I should point out one thing. It’s fun. I’ll say that again it’s FUN. You’ll meet other beekeepers and find out what sort of a year they have had. If you have a beekeeping problem there will a dozen people who will suggest eighteen different solutions, they are beekeepers after all. And you will find out that you are doing better than you thought.
Can I hear some neigh sayers at the back mumbling “It’s not worth the effort I can’t win.” YOU CAN WIN AND THAT’S NOT THE POINT ANYWAY. It’s a community of like minded people (mostly, they are beekeepers after all) who are welcoming and supportive. At the very least enter the Novice class. This is open to all who have not yet won a first prize and it’s FREE. Other classes cost 50p per entry to cover costs. Top Tip: Filter your honey. You may be proud of unfiltered wholemeal honey but this is partly a beauty contest. It could be very annoying if you were pipped to the post by someone who had run their honey through 100 micron nylon mesh filter they had bought on Ebay for £6 including postage. Or how about the Black Jar class, a 2oz jar where the judge can not see the jar so it's all about the smell and taste.
If you want to improve your chances of winning there are the classes with historically low entries. If have a couple of jars of dark honey THEN ENTER THEM. Only two entries last year and quite rare in Lincolnshire. Got any comb honey? Only two entries last year.
And while I'm on about wax surely you’ve got some to spare? Two classes, five 1oz bars all the same or one large 7-9 oz block (metric equivalents are acceptable). Also candles, just two classes this year a moulded beeswax candle. Top Tip: Try a silicone food mould and warm it in the oven before pouring in the molten wax, allow to cool slowly. The other class is a rolled beeswax candle but don’t bother I've got this one wrapped up.
Then there are Mrs Beekeeper favourites, the cooking classes. Four classes. Honey Lemon Curd, Honey Biscuits, Honey Cake and Honey Chutney. Everyone cooks to the same recipe. Surely one of them is worth a go. Matt Vicker’s (winner of the 2017 Lincolnshire Beekeepers show, Honey Biscuits class) Top Tip: 5 minutes before the end of the bake remove from oven and cut to size, remove excess and return to oven. Recipes are in the schedule and on the web site.
Two artistic classes this year. A Photograph, this should be strongly contested as four out of the top five in the Lincolnshire show where Sleaford members but I’m still going to give it a try. Also for the first time a Honey Bee Related Artwork, should be fun.
There is also a Bee Invention class but don’t bother I’m almost guaranteed first place.
Then there is Mead! What’s the point of mead? It’s just diluted honey that’s gone off. Never had one I've enjoyed. It’s never sold in restaurants for good reasons. You have to go deep into the Internet for buy a bottle. But If you insist it can be dry or sweet. (Waste of honey if you ask me.)
Do you have a tip for exhibitors? Please add them to the comments. (Comments can take 24hr to be accepted, otherwise it gets full of spam.)
PLEASE READ THE SCHEDULE. It would be daft if someone else beats you because you made the judge’s decision easier by not complying with the rules of the game. Lastly I will donate two standard 1lb honey jars to any SBKA member who has not entered the show before (leave your request in the comments below, only I will see it). Full details on the website. See you there.