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Mysterious Fruits of Water: Lychee Fruit

Installment #4! The world’s most esoteric fruits are helping marketers de-commoditize bottled water with mysterious, value-added flavorings.

I shelled out $2.50 just so I could share this Borba Water with Lychee Fruit with you! The lychee (aka laichi or lichuare) is a fruit tree native to Southern China and is now cultivated throughout parts of Southeast Asia, reaching Hawaii in 1873, Florida in 1883, and California in 1897.

Lychees require seasonal temperature variations with warm, humid summers and cool, dry winters for best for flowering and fruit development. Young lychees can be killed by a light frost, but mature trees have survived temperatures as low as 25° F when fully hardened off. According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., there are trees in San Diego, California that are over 90 years old with no sign of decline in sight.

And this fruit has some sexy roots! An early Chinese historical reference to lychees was made in the Tang Dynasty, when it was reportedly the favorite fruit of an emperor’s number-one concubine. Since lychees were only grown in southern China, the emperor had the fruit delivered by the imperial messenger service’s fast horses, whose riders would take shifts day and night, like the Pony Express, to get the just-picked lychees to the capital.

Another interesting story: the “Hanging Green” cultivar is the most famous and rare lychee in existence. For centuries, Hanging Green was an item of tribute to the imperial government of various dynasties until people in Canton revolted during the Qianlong era against the tributes and chopped all but one of the Hanging Green trees. The sole remaining tree still produces fruit each year, and fruits from that tree are now called “Zhengcheng Hanging Green.”

That’s fascinating, but I’m too distracted by Borba’s label to think about lychees, particularly THIS gem:

Can you IMAGINE that?! Right on the other side of my skin lies a supermodel, needing only BORBA water to get out! Suddenly, $2.50 seems wildly reasonable! WHY didn’t someone tell me about this years ago, so that gorgeous me could revel in intoxicating global attention? Thankfully, they’ve included directions but I’m a bit confused…do I have to do the Twist, or would other cool moves be acceptable? Do I sip WHILE dancing, or afterward? When will “Inner Babe” bust out? Is it immediate, kinda like kryptonite? Let me know…

Mysterious Fruits of Water: Yumberry

Installment #3! The world’s most esoteric fruits are helping marketers de-commoditize bottled water with mysterious, value-added flavorings.

Here’s Vital Lifestyle Water, a product that jacks up your IQ and memory with a gentle hint of Yumberry! Yumberry is one of the up-and-comers of the “Superfruits.” “Superfruit” is a term coined by marketers (naturally!) that refers to high-antioxident, nutritionally-rich fruits that have an appealing taste.

Yumberry is actually commercial slang for the fruit of Myrica rubra, also called yangmei, yamamono and various types of bayberry and wax myrtle. It is native to eastern Asia, mainly China, where it has been grown for at least 2000 years. There are more than 100 varieties of yumberry including white, pink, red, and purple. (Usually the purple variety is considered the yummiest!)

And, modern-day marketers are pretty late to the party when extolling Yumberry’s health benefits. From www.yumberryjuice.com,

Adapting Yangmei to medication was firstly seen in Shi Liao Ben Cao, a herbal medicine book written by Meng Xian in Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD). According to the Compendium of Materia Medica, a herbal pharmacological masterpiece written by Li Shi Zhen, the greatest herbal pharmacologist in 16th century, Yangmei is able to “eliminate sputum, stop vomiting, helpful to digestion and alcoholic drinking, quench thirst, conciliate the five internal organs, cleanse stomach and intestines, remove the muddleheaded, and be efficacious to cure diarrhea”.

Mysterious Fruits of Water: Marionberry

Now that consumers have deduced that bottled-up tap water might not be their best buy, marketers have responded with value-added flavorings that ostensibly de-commoditize their products. Now, many esoteric fruits of the world are lending exclusivity to various brands.

Our Oregon friends will be offended to know that we thought that Twist Naturals with Marionberry might be a bottled water from Washington DC with a hint of crack cocaine!

Marionberries, from the blackberry family, are an iconic product of Oregon. They are named after Marion County where they were first grown, and were originally bred in 1956 at Oregon State University. 90% of  the world’s marionberries are grown in this area, and the state produces 28-33 million pounds annually.

In fact, www.oregongourmet.com offers a $39 “Marionberry Madness Gift Box” (which, madness aside, does NOT contain Twist Naturals water.)

Oh, back to this particular water. The package lists the ingredients as follows: Artesian Water, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Natural Marionberry Flavor and Malic Acid. So why isn’t this Pineapple-Marionberry flavor? The label also carries a little bonus for the hipsters: “As in life, chill for best results.”

Related Post: Mysterious Fruits of Water: Dragonfruit