Spotting a huge mulberry tree on the side of the road after hours (okay, barely two hours really) of biking uphill read like salvation – like a thirsty man in the desert spotting a mirage this seemed too good to be true. It was hot, I was sick and forced to pull over frequently during the bike ride and the last steep hike to the top of the Bribirska Glavica archaeological ruins outside of Krka National Park in Croatia were just no longer worth the exertion. At least not when the alternative was foraging for perfectly ripened berries on a towering mulberry tree offering sweet treats, shade, and more importantly an excuse to stay behind while my two traveling companions hiked the last 20 minutes.
I can’t begin to tell you about the archaeological site but I can share that mulberries are softer than a blackberry (though that’s what they most closely resemble) and about ten times as naturally sweet. No tart puckering no matter how under-ripe and just picking a berry softly from the tree sends the sticky purple stains running down your fingers!
Quick Travel Tips: Picking Berries (and other fruit from the side of the road)
Is it safe?: Depends on what you’re eating! But it can be great fun on a bike ride or hike to forage for berries as a break if you spot some on the side of the road…just beware of other people’s property, pesticides, and that they’re edible!
How do you know? Ask a local. Our guide hiking in the Himalayas pointed out a delightfully mild orange berry – once I knew they were edible I stopped to pick them whenever I needed a break.
When in doubt: Don’t eat it. The mulberries were pretty obvious but err on the side of caution if you can’t actually identify the food.