History of Walter Knott explains why Pynchon is always namedropping boysenberry yogurt in his books. In the first chapter of "Inherent Vice" Denis orders a pizza topped with boysenberry yogurt from a pizza place that will put anything on a pizza. In "Vineland" Zoyd raids Mucho Maas' fridge to get food for his infant daughter Prairie, and feeds her boysenberry yogurt. One of those weirdly particular references that connects characters from all 3 of Pynchon's California novels (Mucho Maas being better known from Crying of Lot 49 but making a cameo in Vineland that links the 2 stories and gives Pynchon an opportunity to explain how the liberatory potential of LSD had been captured and subverted and the hippie counterculture turned to destructive hard drug use.)
Anyway boysenberries are a hybrid of 4 other berries (technically "Aggregate Fruits" not true horticultural berries) that were first grown in California by Rudolph Boysen, but popularized by Walter Knott who was the "Knott" in the "Kott's Berry Farm" amusement park and also a major funder of the John Birch Society. So even something that seems offhand and random in Pynchon like the boysenberry references can be read as a reminder that California and Californians are the product of these far-right eugenics programs.
"Aggregate Fruit" could also be a specific nod to the continuation of the Nazi V-Weapons program in California, as the rockets were known by their code name "Aggregate" to the Germans. And the whole "creamy bacterial culture on top, sugared-up eugenicized aggregat fruit on the bottom" thing about yogurt becomes a little metaphor for how to read the lurking subterranean fascism of the California Dream.
If Rudolph Boysen was the father of the Boysenberry, then Luther Burbank was its grandfather. Burbank created over 800 plant hybrids, including the ubiquitous "Shasta daisy". The "Shasta" in "Inherent Vice"'s "Shasta Fay Hepworth" is a reference to this eugenicist California lineage (can't help but think of the "Daisy Girl" from the 1964 Johnson vs Goldwater campaign ad in this context).
(also - follow up on "Sauncho Smilax" aka "Blessed Sarsaparilla" and the history of soft drinks)
California has a long history of treating human beings as an agricultural product to be bred or exterminated at will. Luther Burbank was a major proponent of eugenics, publishing a book called "The Training of the Human Plant". Burbank feared that immigration to America would lead to a disastrous mingling of races; while stopping short of calling for extermination of the "abnormal" Burbank did want to forbid "abnormals" from marrying. Burbank was in this way a "liberal eugenicist" in the same way Pynchon's Dr. Hilarius character did "liberal SS medical experiments."
The theme of hybridization, mixing traits from different species, explains the transformation of the California police state in 1970. The police were using the "Golden Fang" cult to create police / hippie hybrids from the local surf music scene, which could be used to expand the powers of the police state into environments where they formerly couldn't thrive. The protagonist "Doc" Sportello is himself a hybrid character in this regard, a hippie private detective who got his start as a repo man that used CIA drugs to interrogate debtors.
(Doc being a former repo man makes a nice circular allusion with the Alex Cox movie)
Burbank's "Training of the Human Plant" was a major source of inspiration for Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the first popularizers of yoga in the US. Yogananda dedicated his "Autobiography of a Yogi" to Burbank.
Autobiography of a Yogi" was hugely influential on the California counterculture despite (or specifically because of) its origins in the "master race" fantasies of California agricultural barons of the early 20th century.
(For the British Equivalent, see Gerard Wallop and Moral Re-Armament)
"Autobiography of a Yogi" claimed that yoga would give you superpowers like teleportation and clairvoyance. Yogananda created the "Self Realization Fellow" to teach these techniques, but much like in Scientology, the scripture and techniques are the intellectual property of the Fellowship and anyone who discloses them to outsiders can be sued.
Gateway to the SRF retreat in Hollywood. Note the hybrid use of Christian symbols.
So what kind of hybrid would you get when you crossed Luther Burbank with Paramahansa Yogananda? What would be the spiritual practices of Lutheran Yoga? Whose agendas would it serve?