Odd Berry Crops
Plenty of people are interested in planting blueberries, blackberries grapes, strawberries and other small fruit. But what about goumi berries? Or mulberries? Or Surinam cherries?
Life isn’t all about the commercial crops found in your local grocery.
In Florida, we’re uniquely suited to growing some amazing and almost unknown berries. Sure, we know about mulberries, right? But how many trees have you seen lately? Probably very few, since the modern idea of a nice suburban yard doesn’t have a place for a messy (that is, HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE) tree like a mulberry. Heck no – let’s plant a freakin’ worthless ornamental!
When things collapse, you’re going to be glad for mulberry trees.
Can’t eat all the fruit? Dry them for later.
Weather won’t allow it? Ferment them and make brandy.
Not legal to make brandy in your locale? Feed them to your chickens.
Seriously – that’s not a mess, that’s food. I’ll do a future post on mulberries since I’m just using them as a passing example here.
If you’re down in South Florida, you can grow cocoplum or Surinam cherry hedges and have something to eat as well while you enjoy your privacy. Heck, you can eat berries naked once the hedges fill in enough. It’s fun.
In the middle of the state, goumi berries are a great choice. A relative of the popular silverthorn (used extensively for hedges), goumi berry shrubs fix nitrogen and bear delicious, tart red berries with tiny silver spots on them. I’ve got a half-dozen in my front yard in both sun and shade. Plant them in your food forest and the roots will also feed the trees around them.
Another native with edible berries is the “Simpson Stopper.” They’re a decently sweet little red berry with an interesting bitter grapefruit aftertaste. One of these days I’ll dry some and see how that works out. Just another way to think outside the typical berry basket.
Bonus: most people don’t recognize these plants or their food value, meaning you can be eating goumi berry jam while the rest of your town is dealing with major food theft issues.
Just a few thoughts. Now go… plant some odd berry crops!