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White Bell Fruit-A New Star among Cishan's Fruit Production 旗山農業新星 白蓮霧

White Bell Fruit-A New Star among Cishan's Fruit Production

◎Written by Peng Hsin-yi ◎Photos by Hou Ya-ting, Yang Chan-hua

 Cishan District is known as the Banana Kingdom, due to the great quality and vast quantity of bananas that are grown in the area. However, there is another special fruit that also comes from Cishan, but most people don't know about it. This is the "Jadeite Bell Fruit" (white bell fruit), a rare type of fruit exclusively produced by Mr. Ke Guofu. 

 Ke Guo-fu tells the heart-warming story behind why he developed this special bell fruit. About twenty years ago, Mrs. Ke's mother fell grievously ill. The doctor suggested she should consume large quantities of vitamin rich bell fruit. Due to the fact the fruit was rich in iron and other minerals the doctor felt it was ideal for her condition. At that time, the Ke's neighbors also grew bell fruits, so Mr. and Mrs. Ke asked if they could knock some of their fruit off the tree. When ripe, bell fruit will easily fall off. It also rots quickly so the neighbors didn't mind giving it away.

 Mr. Ke soon became fascinated with the fruit and decided he was going to make it readily available. He began growing the bell fruit exclusively in his orchard. Considering the nutritious value of the fruit it wasn't difficult to convince others to buy it. Mr. Ke also credited the bell fruit with keeping his skin in such excellent condition.

 He also never forgot the generosity of his neighbors. Therefore, if anyone comes to him asking for leaves of bell fruit for medicinal purposes, he allows them to take as much as they need. At first, Mr. Ke grew the traditional pale red-skinned bell fruit, but when he became more experienced, he began growing a rare white bell fruit. This bell fruit was of excellent quality, so people began to call them the "Jadeite Bell Fruit". Mr. Ke points out white bell fruits contain less water than red ones and are therefore crunchier. The white bell fruit also has a delicate fragrance that makes it more alluring. Only a very few people grow this type of fruit, making them a rare commodity.
 Mr. Ke uses famers' associations and networks to help him sell his fruit. He also ma

ntains a produce stand in the scenic Guanyin Mountain area. He usually sells his bell fruit on weekends and holidays in order to promote his product and inform more people about its wonderful, healthy properties. Mr. Ke also accepts telephone orders and provides a home delivery service. He also takes quality control very seriously and if a batch isn't up to standard, he would rather tell the customers he has run out, then sell them an inferior product.

旗山農業新星 白蓮霧

◎文/楊蟬華 ◎攝影/侯雅婷.楊蟬華

 旗山過去曾有香蕉王國的美譽,但住在旗山務農維生的柯國富卻以栽種翡玉蓮霧(白蓮霧)為業,這背後有個感人的小故事。

 柯先生的岳母20幾年前病危,當時的醫生建議他岳母多吃蓮霧,因為蓮霧的維生素、鐵質及礦物質豐富,對病人有益,加上蓮霧易落果,與其落果腐爛,不如善加運用,因此只要鄰人家中有野生的蓮霧樹,夫婦倆都會前去央求用竹竿打落蓮霧,讓岳母食用,也因此讓柯先生夫婦和蓮霧結下了不解之緣。

 正因為這樣的機緣,柯先生就將自有的果樹園改種紅蓮霧,想讓更多人吃到營養價值豐富的蓮霧,也或許是蓮霧吃多了,柯先生的皮膚特別好,是活脫脫的最佳代言人。也因為受人幫助點滴在心,如果有人向他們索取蓮霧葉當藥引,他們亦不會拒絕。在種紅蓮霧一段時間並摸索出方法後,他們就改種白蓮霧,又因為品質好,而有翡玉蓮霧的美名。柯國富說白蓮霧的水分不如紅蓮霧多,因此口感更清脆,加以白蓮霧品嚐起來有股紅蓮霧所沒有的香氣,甜度約在12度至13度間(編按:約愛文芒果般的甜度),且種植農戶不多,因此價格維持在一定的水準之上。

 除了利用農會的產銷系統銷售外,柯先生也利用假日時到到高雄市觀音山風景區零售翡玉蓮霧,推廣蓮霧的營養價值;柯先生亦接受電話訂貨後宅配,不過他堅持誠信的原則,只要採摘的翡玉蓮霧口感或甜度不佳,他一律告訴客人沒有貨可賣,以維持口碑。民眾如到觀音山旅遊時,如果正巧碰到柯先生,屆時不要吝於嘗試這個以愛為出發點所種出來的果實-翡玉蓮霧。