In the late 1920s, George Darrow of the USDA
began tracking down reports of a large, reddish-purple berry that had been grown by a man named Rudolf Boysen. He enlisted the help of Walter Knott, a Southern California farmer known as something of a berry expert. Knott hadn’t heard of the new berry, but agreed to help Darrow in his search.
The pair soon learned that Rudolf 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, where they found several frail vines surviving in a field choked with weeds. They transplanted the vines to Knott’s farm where he nurtured them back to fruit-bearing health. Walter Knott began selling the berries at his farm stand in 1935 and soon noticed that people kept returning to buy the large tasty berries. When asked what they were called, Knott said, “Boysenberries.” As their popularity grew, Mrs. Knott began making preserves that ultimately made Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California world famous.
- Parentage unknown – considered to be blackberry crossed with Loganberry or red raspberry.
- Very large (8.0g), deep maroon, large seed.
- Fresh season is typically July 10 – August 10.
- High in Vitamin C and fiber, both of which have been shown to help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
- Contain high levels of anthocyanins, which work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body, and give Boysenberries their deep, dark color.
- Antioxidant levels of food can be measured as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). The ORAC value of Boysenberries is 42 μmoles/TE/g almost double that of blueberries, a well-known antioxidant.
- Contain ellagic acid, a compound known to fight cancer, viruses and bacteria.