Mulberry is to Florida as huckleberry is to Idaho, as far as I can tell. Often tart and always hard to reach berries tucked in brambly trees, the payoff being a lusciously dark juicy berry that is absolutely worth the ordeal of obtaining it. My extraordinarily baking-apt roommate (handmade baguettes and from-scratch ravioli) had made mulberry pie before, tucking the punchy gems inside a flaky crust, but I’d never tried them as they really should be–as any berry really should be–right off the branch, bush, or tree.

Unlikely the lowly, scrubbly, unassuming huckleberry bush that disguises it’s delicious bits with a humble costume, the mulberry is a proud tall tree replete with broad shady leaves and dancery draping branches. The berries look like elongated blackberries with smaller beads, white when unripe, pink when they’re on their way, red-shading-violet when they’re nearly bearable to eat, and a dark, near-black maroon-purple when just about to drop from the tree into ready hands. Within minutes we had snatched all the easily-grabbed berries from the lower branches, but greedy for more I made my way deep into the mess of leaves, working branches as levers against one another to lower this branch just so so that one would bow this way just like that and I could yell to one of my fellow pickers to come quick, snatch these momentarily in-reach beauties!

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