Oh, look – the bird is in a mulberry tree!
I’ve been on a quest for years to find somewhere that I could harvest a small bucket of mulberries. To be honest, in previous years it wasn’t so much a “quest” as a “keeping my eyes open at farmers markets” thing and the occasional “google search.” But this year, a chance Facebook comment from a college friend alerted me to the presence of mulberries in a local county park, and now the quest is in high gear.
I’ll skip the embarrassing details of how my sister and I met up at the park and spent two hours wandering around without finding anything. Or, more specifically, we found no mulberries, but there was a nice bramble of black raspberries.
So it wasn’t entirely fruitless.
Last night I went back, this time with Neil and the kids, and we did find the mulberry trees. I think they were easy for my sister and I to miss because they didn’t look anything like we expected. When we were kids, we had a huge (or, it seemed huge to me, being a kid and all) weeping black mulberry tree in our side yard, but I’ve recently learned that is not the only kind there is. In addition to black mulberries, there are also white and red varieties, and most of them are your standard tall-growing tree, and do not “weep.”
I don’t know how old our tree was, but it certainly had been there when my grandparents owned the house. When they retired and moved away, we used to bring them containers of fresh-picked mulberries during summer visits.
That tree was cut down 25 years ago, to make room to expand the house. I wasn’t a berry eater then, but I am now, and I’m starting to miss that tree. Ever since I began making jams in the summer, I’ve had it in my head that it would be fun to make a batch of mulberry jam and give it to my Dad. I think he’d like that. All I need is to find someplace to get the darn things.
So back to the bird on the mulberry tree. I don’t know if those are the white variety or unripe black ones. Any mulberry experts among us? (Here’s a larger version of the photo if you need it.) What I’d really like to know is this: (1) what time of year are black mulberries ripe, and (2) can I come pick a bucket of them off of your tree?
I promise not to track the purple juice through your house