A boysenberry is a cross between a raspberry, a blackberry and/or a Logan Berry. It is a large (8.0g) compound fruit, with large seeds and a deep maroon color. In the late 1920s, George M. Darrow of the USDA began tracking down reports of a large, reddish-purple berry that had been grown on the northern California farm of a man named Rudolph Boysen. Darrow enlisted the help of Walter Knott, a Southern California farmer who was known as a berry expert. Knott hadn’t heard of the new berry, but he agreed to help Darrow in his search for the berry. Darrow and Knott learned that Boysen had abandoned his growing experiments several years earlier and sold his farm. Undaunted by this news, Darrow and Knott headed out to Boysen’s old farm, on which they found several frail vines surviving in a field choked with weeds. They transplanted the vines to Knott’s farm in Buena Park, California, where he nurtured them back to fruit-bearing health. Walter Knott was the first to commercially cultivate the berry in southern California. He began selling the berries at his farm stand in 1932 and soon noticed that people kept returning to buy the large, tasty berries. When asked what they were called, Knott said, “Boysenberries,” after their originator. His family’s small restaurant and pie business eventually grew into Knott’s Berry Farm. As the berry’s popularity grew, Mrs. Knott began making preserves, which ultimately made Knott’s Berry Farm famous. (Wikipedia, 2010).
Because I am a firm believer in the “knock three times” philosophy whereby if something is brought up to you three times from three different sources you have to follow it, this weeks post is devoted to Boysenberries. My niece Anna Vining, the author of the quote above was the first to come a knockin’. She and her dad had found our Oregon Fruit Boysenberries in their local grocery store and wanted to find a recipe for them. I promised her that I would feature Boysenberries in an upcoming blog. Next, a loyal consumer of Oregon Fruit, McKinley Brown, wrote to us at email@example.com and sent us her favorite Boysenberry Cobbler Recipe. I made this last week and declare it a winner on a number of counts-Easy, Delicious and curiously, although you put the Boysenberries on the top, they end up on the bottom! Lastly, in a lovely “full circle” the gift shop at Knotts Berry Farm in Southern California has contacted us recently as they would like to stock OUR Boysenberries in the Berry Market At Knotts for THEIR customers. I think the founder of our company, Mr. Mark Gehlar, would have found this fitting.