Thursday, May 28, 2015

Florida wild blueberries, blackberries, plums and more!

Wild blueberries!
In my neck of the woods there are blackberries, blueberries and Chickasaw plums ready for the picking.

I plucked a couple of ripe Chickasaw plums off the multiple-grafted frankentree in my front yard this last week.

Then on the weekend I was out wandering and noticed a weedy lot by the side of the road filled with wild blackberries.

In my food forest I grow thornless improved varieties with large fruit; however, it's hard to beat the intense sweet-tart flavor of their wild cousins. The thorns are incredible, though - you pay for every morsel!

Here's a little graphical comparison of types I created:

Most cultivated blackberries are at least FOUR TIMES as big but most types just don't have the full flavor of a wild berry.

Speaking of wild flavor, there is nothing like a wild blueberry. Back in March I posted on spotting blueberry plants in the wild.

That spotting will pay off at this kind of year - the fruit are ripening everywhere and they need to get eaten!

I've spotted at least five different species of edible Florida wild blueberries just during this season. All taste good.

Another plant you're likely to spot growing in blueberry scrub is the weird and wonderful pawpaw. If you're lucky you'll even see some with fruit:

I haven't found any ripe pawpaws yet but they'll be coming soon.

Fruit foraging and growing in North/Central Florida has a progression to it that goes something like this:

December/January: Citrus
Feb/March: Loquats
March/April: Mulberries, Peaches
May/June: Blueberries, Black Cherries, Blackberries, Wild Plums, PawPaws
July/August: PawPaws, Pears, Apples
September/October/November: Chestnuts, Persimmons, Pecans

Plan your food forest correctly and you'll be eating fresh fruit year-round. This time of year is great for berries, though, so take advantage of them while you can.

One word: cobbler.

(Of course, if you're in South Florida it's really easy to eat fresh fruit year-round with little planning since many tropical fruit don't even follow a regular seasonal pattern!)

Today's post originally appeared in this week's Florida Survival Gardening newsletter. If you're not receiving that yet, sign up here!

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At May 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM , Blogger Jeremy Millrood said...

Blueberries look great. I have about 20 bushes, mixture of southern highbush and rabbit eye, several are native species, much smaller fruit but they actually taste the best to me. A lot of the bushes have fruit on them now, not quite ripe, but the squirrels have certainly been eating their fill..I keep telling my daughters we're going to have squirrel stew one night if they don't stop...not having much success with the blackberries, maybe next year..keep up the good work.

At May 28, 2015 at 9:16 PM , Anonymous David The Good said...

Sounds like you've got a great mix. That's the way to go.

Also, squirrels aren't bad eating. My Ruger 10/22 nails a few of them now and again... and we eat 'em.

At May 29, 2015 at 10:24 AM , Blogger Jeremy Millrood said...

Good to know...squirrels here are pretty bold, so I'm thinking they'll be easy picking...


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