Finding something unexpected in your beehive sounds scary. But for Sandhills beekeepers, coming across the rare natural phenomenon that is purple honey? That’s something worth buzzing about.
Donald Dees, owner of Dee’s Bees Apiary, says his honey’s only additives are “determination, perseverance and integrity.” One of his recent batches, like the others, was 100% honey. But this one also happened to be 100% purple.
Honey can vary in color depending on the types of flowers in the environment. The color of honey ranges from a light golden color with clover honeys to dark brown for buckwheat or wildflower honey.
So how did his bees get purple honey? “That’s as deep as asking ‘what is the meaning of life?’” says Donald. In other words, no one knows. And there’s no predicting when, or from which hive, you’ll get it.
Since Donald started harvesting honey in 2016, he’s only encountered purple honey a handful of times and in small amounts. “Usually it’s not even enough to harvest,” he says. The last two years were different.
Donald harvested some purple honey last year and sold out quickly. He made a waitlist in case his hives delivered an encore performance, and lucked out with even more this year — but from different hives. “You don’t necessarily get it every year. Even if you do all of the same things,” says Donald.
The NC Sandhills of North Carolina are thought to be the only place in the world that purple honey exists. It’s very dark in color but still sweet. This one has hints of berry and a big of tang. While no one knows exactly how it occurs, many have theories — Donald included. If you’d like to try some while pondering your own, or the meaning of life, order on Dees Bees’ website.