Sticky and sweet are words commonly used to describe honey, but judge John Grafton of Steubenville looks at more than just taste and consistency when considering who will take home the blue ribbon.
Grafton took a color comparer, a polariscope to check for any impurities in the honey, a refractometer to test the moisture level, and his taste buds to sample the flavor and aroma of honey samples entered at the Lorain County Fair.
He also looks at the appearance, suitability, and uniformity of the jars and their contents. Each contestant prepared three jars of honey to show.
There are seven color classes set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture ranging from water white to dark amber. Grafton said the color of the honey depends on the plant it’s made out of and the time of year.
This is his second consecutive year judging for the Lorain County Fair, but he’s stepped into the role about 10 times in the last 20 years.
Grafton has been a beekeeper since 1964 and has been judging honey for about 30 years, so he knows what it takes to make Grade A honey.
“It’s not rocket science but it is if you want a good product,” he said.
The Lorain County Beekeepers Association requires that those interested in selling honey during fair week must show at the fair.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise Judge John Grafton of Steubenville, Ohio, looks in each jar to make sure all are filled to the same level.