Photo from left to right: Knox Petrucci and Aly Wisely with Heart’s Relief Apiary, Yancey Jones with Hawk Branch Honey, and Ed Geouge with Blue Rock Apiary

The Toe Cane Beekeepers Association congratulates the winners of its 8th Annual Mayland Black Jar Honey Contest and thanks the 40 people from the area who helped select the best tasting honey in Mitchell, Avery and Yancey counties. The contest was held at the Homeplace Beer Company on October 4 and featured 21 different honeys for participants to sample and judge.

First place was awarded to Ed Geouge of Blue Rock Apiary, Burnsville, for his wildflower honey. This is the second consecutive year that Geouge took top honors.

Second Place went to Yancey Jones’ Hawk Branch Honey, Burnsville, which is also a wildflower blend.

Third place went to Knox Petrucci and Aly Wisely of Heart’s Relief Apiary, Green Mountain, for their mid-season honey with floral notes. This is the second consecutive time Petrucci and Wisely have taken third place in the annual contest.

The TCBA would like to express their appreciation to the Homeplace Beer Company, the Terrell House Bed & Breakfast, the Yancey County Extension Office, and the many others who made donations or contributions to support the contest and its silent auction.

The funds raised at the honey contest will be used to bring beekeeping experts and speakers to the tri-county area in 2024 and to support the association’s ongoing educational program, including the association’s Bee Basics for Beginners introductory beekeeping class and its programs in the local school systems. To request a speaker or participation in a local event, visit

The Toe Cane Beekeepers Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association serving the bees and beekeepers of Mitchell, Avery, and Yancey counties.

If you participated in voting, here’s a list of the entries and their corresponding letter:

A. Kristi Benningfield, Field & Honey Farm, Green Mountain

C. Ed Geouge, Blue Rock Apiary, Burnsville (first place)

D. David Reeder, Hawk Mountain Homestead, Bakersville

E. Royce Tolley, Burnsville

F. Knox Petrucci and Aly Wisely, Hearts Relief Apiary, Green Mountain (third place)

G. Second entry from Knox Petrucci and Aly Wisely

H. Debbie Griffith, Whippoorwill Hill Apiary, Ingalls

I Second Entry from Debbie Griffith

J. Jim and Ann Coomber, Happy Apple Bees, Burnsville

K. Second entry from Jim and Ann Coomber, Burnsville

L. Martine Miller, Le Bon Miel Apiary, Burnsville

M. Yancey Jones, Hawk Branch Honey, Burnsville (second place)

N. Michelle Mejia, Moral Bees, Burnsville

O. Joanne Rebbeck, Watershed Apiary, Yancey

P. Sharon Braswell-Zern, Cane Branch Honey, Burnsville

Q. Second entry from Sharon Braswell-Zern

R. Brian Brumbaugh, Hoot Owl Honey, Yancey County

T. Jennifer Brumbaugh, Hoot Owl Honey, Yancey County

U. John Pearson, Pink Boots Farms, Yancey County

V. Second Entry for John Pearson

W. Tom Copeland, Whistle Thicket Farm, Yancey County

Please note, there was no B or S entry, and the tasting table was not laid out alphabetically.


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