JEDDAH: A Saudi beekeeper is enjoying international success after winning a gold medal for her honey in a prestigious global competition.
Businesswoman Norah Shawi Al-Shimmari from the Hail region has won the award for the world’s best quality talah (acacia) honey at the London Honey Awards.
It was the enterprising beekeeper’s first time to take part in the awards program, and she told Arab News: “Winning was one of my biggest wishes for this year. I couldn’t believe it at first, winning is a wonderful feeling.
“It gave me a big boost to keep doing a good job and competing in more competitions.”
The annual London Honey Awards competitions aim to inform honey growers, growers, beekeepers, processors and retailers, who legally distribute their standardized products, to maintain and improve the quality of their branded items by promoting high quality honey products in all aspects of its use and consumption.
Al-Shimmari is the only honey producer in Hail and is known in the Kingdom as “the beekeeper of the north”.
She and two other winners were recently honored for their achievements by the Deputy Governor of Hail, Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin.
It was during an exhibition at an event in Riyadh that she was invited to participate in the London Honey Awards. “I was very encouraged by one of my fellow beekeepers, and am very grateful to him, and for his recommendation and all the help he has offered.”
Al-Shimmari runs his business from the village of Al-Khita, on the outskirts of the city of Hail, and moves his hives daily to different locations in the region to allow his bees access to athel, sidr, and acacia flowers.
Acacia trees are distinctive for their small, often fragrant, and sometimes white yellow flowers, which have many pollen-producing stamens and a fuzzy appearance.
To win its award, Al-Shimmari honey was lab checked for moisture levels, sucrose and glucose content, texture and other factors. The samples were then judged by a jury, with each judge performing an organoleptic taste analysis and scoring the product based on criteria such as appearance, smell and flavor.
Facing competitors from around the world, including the UK, China, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, she said: “The competition was huge and my victory was a surprise and a shock. .
“Beekeeping is all about perseverance and the desire to produce distinguished honey. However, my goals do not end there. I would like to walk a regular trip; I always dream of more success and achievement. This n is just the beginning. I want to see my products all over the world.
Al-Shimmari has been in the honey business for over five years, producing 11 different products, and recently launched a skin care line made with organic honey and honeycomb materials.
Last year, she was the only woman among 33 beekeepers to take part in the Hail Honey Festival. The event helps beekeepers market their products, while increasing investment opportunities.