Southall’s wildflower honey has been named a finalist in the 2020 Good Food Awards, given by the national organization dedicated to the ethical production of clean, healthy food and arguably the top honor for beekeepers.
Jay Williams, who manages Southall’s apiary while educating and inspiring hundreds of others through Williams Honey Farm, attributes the success to the diversity of native plantings featured on the 325 acres at Southall – and the team’s dedication to continually adding more.
Southall is releasing 100 four-ounce jars of the honey, which can be ordered online at www.southallfarms.com/southall-honey and picked up from the Southall Farm Stand between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11 or Wednesday, December 18. Other holiday goodies available on those days from the farm, located at 1995 Carters Creek Pike in Franklin, include fresh eggs, hydroponic lettuces, the popular Rambling salad dressing, Southall habanada pepper hot sauce, heirloom seeds, greenhouse succulents, gardening tools and branded merchandise.
Bees are essential members of the farming team at Southall. Williams is in the process of implementing a comprehensive pollination plan on the property that will ultimately include about 4.5 million bees, including native species. The greenhouses at Southall are using native leafcutter bees to pollinate 365 days a year, and Williams is utilizing Bluetooth technology to monitor hive health. Below the apiary, nearly 2,000 apple trees live on a terraced hillside, and crop and fruit yields are increasing exponentially each year as a result of the pollinators.
Williams became fascinated with the craft of growing honeybees as pollinators upon learning of their plight years ago. He loves making honey, and he delights in the opportunity to inspire people to learn more about the way bees from other parts of the world interact with middle Tennessee’s native species to coax the best harvest out of the growing seasons. At Southall, the honeybees are of Russian and Italian descent.
“Bees are the hardest-working beings out there,” he says. “And they’re working so hard not for their own benefit, for the good of the family. There are so many life lessons to be learned from a bee colony.”
The Good Food Foundation is committed to fostering land stewardship and cultivating social good. From a blind tasting of 2,035 entries, 324 outstanding food and drink crafters rose to the top, after passing a rigorous vetting to confirm they meet Good Food Awards standards regarding supply chain transparency and environmentally sound agricultural practices. Of the 16 finalists in the honey category from states ranging from Hawaii to Massachusetts, Southall’s wildflower honey was the only finalist from Tennessee.
Winners will be announced on Friday, January 17, 2020, at a 1,000-person gala in the historic San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, followed by two days of celebration including the Good Food Awards Marketplace. For more information, visit www.goodfoodfdn.org.