colby caldwell

Stu Helm - Day Three

colby caldwell

Bee People

Today, I went to the 7th Annual Black Jar honey competition. It’s the only competition like it in the entire world, so as a result, honey is shipped into Asheville from the four corners of the Earth! Last year I was a judge, but this year, I was just invited to enjoy this wonderful event from the other side of the table, as a guest. Phew! The pressure to judge the work of bees was off! There are about 30 competitors, and I’m not an expert on honey, so last year my judge’s score sheet said things like, “tastes like honey,” and “it’s sweet.” Yeah, I’m not a good judge for this one. Better to unleash me in the crowd so I can get at that buffet table!

The buffet was great; I pigged out! I think it was probably catered by the Renaissance Hotel , where the event takes place every year. The hotel is a big player in the bee scene here in Asheville, with bee hives on the roof and a special connection with The Center for Honeybee Research, the people who organize this yearly event.

Just in case you didn’t know: Bees, and other pollinators are in crisis, and while I’m not an expert on such things, these bee people are experts, and I encourage you all to support them in their efforts!

Some of the attendees for this fun and important event were food writers, chefs, environmentalists, beekeepers (of course), and the general public, who were invited to purchase tickets and vote for their favorite honey in a People’s Choice. Even Miss North Carolina 2017, Victoria Huggins, was there! 

I’m really bad at taking pictures of people–that’s why I mainly stick to pictures of food–but I thought I should include some people for this Holler series, and I liked this snapshot of Ms. Huggins standing at attention, looking like a Queen Bee, sort of waiting for the next person to be really nice to! I also ran into Cúrate and Nightbell co-owner Liz Button (seen in the background) at the event and she invited me to come to a Downtown Welcome Table event, to which I said yes, so I’ll post pics from that online too. I mention it here, because my Holler Observer gig will be over by then, but I wanted to squeeze in a plug for Welcome Table, because it’s a great org.

There are lots of charitable organizations and events around town, and if they involve food at all, chances are you might see me there!