The Times' David Karp writes:
To the uninitiated, the boysenberry may look like a big, blowzy, underripe fruit, but it is in fact a noble fruit, as distinct from a common blackberry as a thoroughbred is from a mule.
Large, dark purple, juicy and intense, it derives its unique flavor from its complex ancestry: sweetness and floral aroma from its raspberry grandmother cousin, and a winy, feral tang from three native blackberry species.
It's a California classic . . . [a]nd it's all the more precious despite its near extinction in this state, because it evokes why people moved here in the first place.
. . . they are so delicate that as a fresh fruit they can be enjoyed at their best only from farmers markets, farm stands, and home gardens.
I wish boysenberries grew abundantly here in the mid-Atlantic. The delicate nature of this fruit is what must make the mass-fruit producers hate them -- they don't ship well. But I'll take a pint of fresh boysenberries over those tastless, oversized, not-yet-ripe strawberries that get shipped to the East Coast this time of year.