My parents’ farm in Buffalo is the only place known to man that has quessenberries growing. In fact, for a while, people didn’t even know about quessenberries. The quessenberry is a mysterious fruit and the nature of how it grows and how it tastes only lends to more mystery. It’s no wonder it hadn’t been “discovered” for so many years… even when it had actually already been discovered.
You see, my parents’ farm is not extremely large. But what land they do have, that land completely encompasses the 11 bushes that grow quessenberries. The only 11 bushes to grow quessenberries in the entire world… as far as we know. Some of the bushes push right up alongside the limits of my parents’ farm, but many are situated well within our property. Nevertheless, there’s never been a dispute over where the quessenberry bushes lie. Our nextdoor neighbor, Jeb, has never given us any trouble. His farm does well. It’s bigger than ours. He sees no reason to try to claim any of the bushes near the border as his own. And he’d lose that battle anyway.
This is the strange part about the quessenberry. It’s seasonal. And what I mean by that is something entirely different from how you usually hear it. Each season, the quessenberry is different. It changes fairly close to our actual markings of the seasons. In spring, starting on March 25th, these iridescent, circular fruits include a hint more blue to their coloring, and they taste exactly like blueberries. Which is why everyone just thought they were blueberries. Around summer, starting on June 25th, these iridescent, circular fruits feature more red coloring, and they taste identical to a strawberry. They don’t look much like a strawberry, but if you ate one blindfolded you’d swear it was a strawberry. People would tend to think they were just strawberries with some genetic mishap causing their strange appearance.
On September 25th, the quessenberries change once more for fall. They develop a hazy, burnt orange coloring to compliment their iridescent nature, and their flavor is an exact match for pineapple. It’s hard for people to explain that one away. How could it be a pineapple? It looks nothing like a pineapple, yet the taste, the texture, identical.
On December 25th, for winter, ironically starting on the day of Christmas, quessenberries change once again. And this is what I like to refer to as “true quessenberry.” The coloring is the most iridescent anything could ever be. The more you turn the little, circular fruits in your hands, the more the color changes. They’re a beautiful spectacle. And the flavor. Magnificent. Unlike anything you’ve ever had, it cannot be described. I just describe it as quessenberry flavoring. It has that sharp citrus flavor of a pineapple or a lemon but with a heavenly sweet flavor laced right through it and it features a savory aroma and aftertaste on the finish. My dad likes to say, “I’ve had wine with a less complicated palette than the quessenberry.”
I understand his joke in theory. But I’ve never had wine. Maybe once I’m old enough I’ll appreciate his joke.
In the winter time, this is when people flock to my parents’ farm. In recent years, people have been visiting often throughout the year. They want to see the quessenberries at all times of the year, to see if they really are like blueberries in spring, strawberries in summer, pineapples in fall, and quessenberries in winter. People think we are pulling some big, elaborate hoax. That we’re growing blueberries and then changing things up after one season. As if we can just make a bush change the fruit it produces. We don’t change anything. We just let those 11 quessenberry bushes do their thing.
There are some people who come onto the farm and steal pieces of the bushes. They try to replant them. It never works. Quessenberry bushes won’t grow anywhere other than my parents’ farm. People buy the quessenberries and try to plant them and grow them on their own… no one has ever had success. I’ve watched a lot of videos online of people trying this… I’ve watched a lot of failure.
The best thing for people to do is to just buy the quessenberries from us and enjoy them.
And my parents have come up with many ways for people to enjoy them. Quessenberry pie, a quessenberry tart, quessenberry frosting on a chocolate cake is to die for, quessenberry soothies for the health conscious… they go best with some almond milk, banana, and a few raspberries. Heaven in a glass.
We’ve done quessenberry mousse, quessenberry muffins, quessenberry scones, my mom even tried out a vegan nicoise salad with quessenberries in it. It was a hit. She began to get requests year round. The problem is… those things can only exist in the winter. Winter is quessenberry time.
The requests, the orders, they all got to be so much. Only 11 bushes in the entire world, they’re all on my parents’ farm. People from all over want to come try quessenberries… and there is only a three month window in which they can… and they have to come to one location. I started to help my parents, but it wasn’t enough. They had to hire some help. “A good problem to have.” My dad would joke.
Business had been booming the past few years. We still get decent business the other nine months of the year, people do like to eat the weird little fruits that taste like pineapple but look nothing like pineapple. We get a big push of that in November and early December. But winter time… it is hopping!
We hired a woman to revamp our web site. She helps out on the farm as well. We also hired four other people to help out on the farm. Two of the four people are a couple and they started bringing their daughter around to help out. She is my age. She is really pretty. I get to work with her a lot. Her name is Julie.
Julie was bewildered at all the people from around the world that flock to our little farm. I’ve gotten used to it somewhat, but it still surprises me. I told her about the year where I met a man from India, a man from Estonia, a woman from Pakistan, a woman from New Zealand, a family from Argentina, and twin sisters from Nigeria… and this was all in one day! That was December 25th, two years ago. That was a fun day.
Julie likes to listen to my stories about the people who visit from all over. I like to watch Julie eat the quessenberries and get that look of surprise on her face every time. It never gets old.
Julie and I are both going to go to college for marketing some day when we’re old enough. We both plan on going to the same university. We’ve discussed with my parents how we want to learn everything we can so that we can help them put the best marketing plan together for the quessenberries. My dad jokes that these quessenberries are the only things in the world that don’t need marketing. But I disagree, respectfully, of course. You can always market something better.
Case and point, let me ask you… have you ever heard of quessenberries before today?
If you enjoyed this story and want to read more of my work, then please come check out my website stephenavitabilewriting.com where I post all my latest work, plus you can even subscribe for updates!