Robert Heath’s booth at the Virden Farmers’ Market was lined with ribbons representing his success in competition at Canada’s premier agricultural fair, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, held in Toronto every November.
“It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s a personal achievement for me,” said Heath, as customers came and went at his honey table one Friday.
Heath started bee keeping years ago in his native England. He has been crafting Shropshire Gate Honey ever since the family’s move to Canada in 1981.
He is not new to honey competitions either. “I used to show in England as well.”
Last fall, after the close of the honey season, Heath prepared honey samples in jars and in the comb, to enter eight classes.
“It takes me a full day or more to prepare, starting off with the glass jar, polishing it inside and out and filling it to a certain level. There’s a lot of work that goes into showing, behind the scenes.”
Off the honey went to Toronto. The results speak for themselves.
Shropshire Gate Honey received the Lorna Robinson Trophy, having the highest number of points in the Honey Section. Heath was declared White Liquid Honey Champion and received the Toronto District Beekeepers Association Trophy for Best Display of Honey and Beeswax.
The only exhibitor in the professional category from outside of Ontario, Heath was also recognized for that.
Shropshire Gate’s beeswax display took first prize out of seven contestants. Heath’s cut honey comb received a third place.
In the golden honey class Heath stood sixth out of nine exhibitors. He was one of two entries in the hand dipped candle class and stood second.
“I always strive for quality products. This way I have something to back up my claim,” he said with satisfaction.