Well we had a fine Fourth of July here at Three Dog Farm. We’ve ticked off all the summer rituals: pool party complete with lots of kids and cupcakes, fired up the grill, hung festive star-spangled bunting, and had ice cream from Sunshine Sundaes for dinner.
But we’ve also discovered a brand new summertime ritual: Mulberry Season!
I headed up to the barn the other day and noticed berries all over the driveway. They looked a bit like blackberries, and I noticed that the robins were having a feast high up in the branches of the sixty foot tree. Of course I consulted my sister, a true master gardener. Through the miracle of an iPhone video and quick text, she said, “That’s easy-it’s a mulberry! Have you tried one yet? The dark colored ones are the best.” Now that I knew they weren’t poisonous I tried one and was delighted. They are sweet, kind of like a cross between a blackberry and blueberry. They don’t store or ship well because they bruise easily-they are best eaten right away so this is true locavore eating!
At our pool party a guest was delighted to see the tree. His eyes twinkled and he called me over to share his stories. He grew up with a Mulberry tree that was small enough that they could shake it to harvest the fruit. He said, “We’d always eat it around the Fourth of July. We ate those good berries on everything, even our Cheerios!”
My sister and I agree that it is a very messy tree-the driveway probably isn’t the most optimal location. The berries are quite staining and get squished and tracked all over the place. I’m thinking, and Cornell University agrees in this article so I’m in good company, that next year I’ll lay a tarp down to make harvesting easier and prevent some of the mess.
But for this sunny July I’ll gather what I can, leave the rest to the birds, and be grateful for another delightful surprise from Three Dog Farm.