Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Rhubarb and Mulberries – Oh My!

April 22nd, 2010 · 9 Comments

Can you tell it’s Spring Break, garden style? I’ve already written about rhubarb – that celery-like vegetable that Midwesterners, Brits and Germans adore and we have so little of down here.

Mulberries, sweet and juicy – and huge

Lordy mercy, but I do love mulberries! They grew on a huge tree on a street I passed – with a small detour – on the way home from grade school in Wilton Manors. I had no idea what they were called – neither did my 8-year-old friend who lived at the house next door to the berries. I just know we ate our fill of them each spring when that tree was heavy with them.

Once I had some land where I could sprawl, I planted a mulberry tree in my yard on the “farmlet.” It grew to 40 feet in no time – and I had mulberries out the wazoo.

I took a pail full to work, and one of the copy editors took them home to her spouse. From then on, each spring, I could expect a call from Linda and Jim Ferris to come and pick mulberries off my tree.

Otto Norris

My wonderdog at the time, Otto Norris, a Rottweiler, also loved them. REALLY loved them. Unbeknownst to me, when I was doing yard work one day, he was chowing down on mulberries. I had no idea – until the next morning.

He was crate trained and so slept in his crate. On a light blue blanket. The crate was against a white wall and on a wooden parquet floor – maybe you can see where I’m going with this. I had to repaint the wall, and tear up several squares of parquet flooring after those mulberries went rapidly through his system. He must have gotten to low branches and gobbled up every one he could find on the ground, too.

Otto was not allowed to sleep inside during mulberry season ever again.

Tags: Southern Roots Run Deep · Today in the World of Food

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Backyardavore // Apr 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    My mulberry bush has grown into a mulberry tree. It’s 30-foot tall at least and full of berries. More than I could every want. The thing is exploding. You can’t walk across the back yard without turning your feet blueish black.


  • 2 Jan Norris // Apr 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Maybe I can get over tomorrow and pick some!! I need to get a new mulberry tree for here. I dearly miss them! I’ll tell Linda and Jim about yours, too, if you don’t mind.

  • 3 Jan Norris // Apr 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    They make a great cobbler, too! A former pastry chef at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach made them into a creme brulee – oh, boy!

  • 4 Mulberries: Grazing on the Side of the Road — Palm Beach Bike Tours // Apr 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    […] grabbing one, a gentle brush will cause three more to fall on the ground.Other Mulberry linksMy foodie friend, Jan Norris, shares her mulberry experiences.Son Matt has equally prolific bushes behind his house.Some grow into huge trees, like the Hanging […]

  • 5 Terri Turner // Apr 23, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I love mulberries!! We had a tree in our back yard and would just pick them right off and eat them right then. Never made it to the house. They were awesome!! Never see them anywhere!

  • 6 Scott Simmons // Apr 23, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Birds can’t get enough of mulberries, either. Of course, one can be sure Otto would’ve consumed anything put before him. I think they would make a good substitute dye for indigo.

  • 7 Jan Norris // Apr 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Those homeowners who planted mulberry trees near the clotheslines found that out! Probably why you never saw trees anywhere near clotheslines, in general. Sea grapes also produce this mess down here and birds (and people in the know) dearly love them, too!

  • 8 Maruchy // Apr 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Ah, I love your rottie Otto. I have one too, the love of our life. I’ll keep her away from mulberries though.

  • 9 Jan Norris // Apr 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Wish I still had the stubborn mutt, but he’s now eating his mulberries in the Great Beyond. Such a sweetie; miss him a lot.

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