Friday, June 28, 2013

Mulberries and urban fruit foraging

Our mulberry tree is finally producing - we have both a male and female tree in our yard, both planted not by us but by birds dropping seeds.  It's one of the nice surprises we got when we started tending our overgrown part of the yard (former driveway) that was behind our strawbale house addition after the building project was done. The male doesn't produce fruit, but the female tree is loaded with berries this year.  This tree is already high enough that the top branches need to be harvested by ladder, but luckily the low branches droop down and many higher berries fall to the ground when ripe.  There is certainly more than enough for us to gather.

It reminds us of the many forgotten fruit trees, berries and other wild edibles all around our city, left over from old orchards or planted in parks, boulevards or yards.  Just in walking distance right in our own neighbourhood, the service berries lining the boulevard of the next street over are in full swing with delicious berries just low enough to reach when you walk by on the sidewalk; there are several large mulberries in a park nearby; wild grapes and raspberries are growing all along the old railway line; and an old apple orchard with 4 well-producing trees is behind an older factory.  This is not even considering all the fruit trees that may be forgotten in yards where homeowners no longer tend them.  Our cities are full of food, and we could be much more organized in planting, tending and harvesting it.  In many cities there are urban harvesting groups that are banding together to collect these delicious resources - Not Far From the Tree in Toronto is a wonderful example.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 28, 2013

    I've read that Mulberry trees change 'sex' as they age. I'm growing them from seed.