Mulberry Stains and Scouting Out Serviceberries
Membership has its privileges. For the past few years, I've served on the neighbor's advisory committee for the Montgomery College TP/SS campus a block south of me. So when I saw the college had planted a small grove of Serviceberries last year, I kept my eye on them and when I saw them ripen en masses this week I shot off a quick email to college provost Brad Stewart to ask permission to pick them. I got a few stares by passing students as I picked and photographed with alternate hands. (Warning: these berries can stain.) The birds have not yet discovered this treasure. More for me! I came home with a cup each of ultra-sweet Serviceberries to snack on. For those who have never tasted one, image a milder blueberry. Last week at AHS River Farm, I saw they had a monstrous Serviceberry in their garden. I'll be back there this Sunday for the Community Green event and maybe they'll let me have a nibble from that tree as well.
In my urban foraging this week, I've also been picking mulberries. They are also very sweet and juicy, more grape-like in flavor to me than akin to the raspberries and blackberries they resemble. I pick from the trees in common areas and in my 'hood (East Silver Spring near the DC border) they are certainly abundant. They are easy to find, just look down at the mulberry stained sidewalks covered in squished berries and try not to slip, slide, or fall. From back alleys to abandoned auto lots, the mulberry tree is nothing if not opportunistic. Thanks to the birds pooping out seeds and staining every bit of area sidewalk. I've been yanking out mulberry tree seedlings every time I go out to weed and they are some long-rooted, stubborn suckers that like to wedge themselves in the most inconvenient spots like deep under a thorny rose bush or under a large rock. If anyone wants a mulberry seedling, come on by!
I'm sharing some photos here of both berries that I took a la Martha Stewart Living lighting style and I'm posting it around lunch-time to encourage maximum salivating. If you have also been doing some urban foraging, drop me a post here and share.