Sweet Mystery – How North Carolina’s Bees Produce Purple Honey

The Sandhills of North Carolina is said to be the only place in the world where bees produce purple honey, a concoction that looks more like alien goo than the sweet nectar we know and love. Purple honey is said to be sweeter than the amber kind, and it apparently has some subtle fruit notes as well. The color of honey — from light yellow to deep amber — depends on the type of flower the nectar comes from. In the case of purple honey, the origin has yet to be determined. Some swear it comes from fruits like blueberries or huckleberries, but scientists and beekeepers say bees don’t have strong enough teeth to bite through the skin of those berries. Others say the flowers of the Kudzu plant produce the unusual color, while a few are convinced that it’s the southern leatherwood. In reality, no one really knows for sure where the purple honey comes from. Many of those lucky enough to have tried purple honey claim it has a fruity flavor that really can’t be described. Because purple honey is so rare it commands a higher price, averaging about $15 for a 3-oz. jar.