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.