Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees
Orange blossom honey, or clover? Maybe “wildflower.” Or how about the “colorful candy shell” blend? If not for stringent rules dictating that honey, by definition, must be made from plant nectar, you might be facing down this wacko decision right now.
As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones wrestling with the habit of choosing artificial sweetness over the real deal. Bees, too, are susceptible. And farmers in the north of France found this out the hard way when they discovered their hives plugged up with a kaleidoscope of blue, green, and muddy red “honey.”
Sadly, they weren’t having waking hallucinations. Their bees had decided that open containers of candy coloring from a nearby processing plant put up easier fare than nearby flower fields. But this isn’t exactly a fluke of the natural world, as a batch of blood-red bee juice out of Red Hook, Brooklyn proved in 2010. Maraschino-cherry flavored honey on your ice cream, anyone?
For now, the farmers are saying they can’t sell the colorful stuff; the French laws on the definition of honey preclude them from it. But something tells me the market is there, if only they start advertising to the new gastronomy set of NYC.
I think our own honey bees at the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden do just fine with the real deal at their disposal. Click through for more on the royal blue confection. —MN