Ripening Guide

Learn more about the many fruits of Toronto's Urban Orchard

Mulberries

These small berries, similar in size and shape to blackberries, grow on trees up to three storeys high. The colour of mulberries varies, depending on variety:

– Red native mulberry trees have berries that darken as they ripen, turning from white to red to purplish black when ripe

– White Asian mulberry trees have berries that are white or golden when ripe

The majority of mulberry trees in Toronto are hybrids of red and white mulberry trees, with purplish black berries, like those of the red mulberry.

  • June
  • July
  • August

When mulberries are ripe: When berries are sweet and juicy. Red or hybrid mulberries turn a dark purplish black colour when they’re ready to harvest, and white mulberries will be a white or golden colour. Mulberries on a single tree can ripen over the course of 2-4 weeks. Some berries will be fully ripe, while others will be a week or two away from being ready.

When to submit a pick request: We’ll need some advance notice to schedule your pick, so please submit a fruit pick request 3-5 days before your fruit is ready. A good time to do this is when 1/3 or more of the berries are ready to harvest.

Picking tips: Not Far From The Tree uses the shake and catch method to harvest mulberries. Here’s how it works: grab a few friends and a large tarp or sheet. Have four people hold each corner of the tarp, while one person climbs the tree or reaches up to shake the branches. The mulberries will rain down on the tarp (and onto people’s heads … avoid wearing fancy clothes).

Note: It’s best to leave unripe mulberries on the tree because they won’t ripen after they’ve been picked and can cause upset stomachs if eaten unripe.

Storage tips: Refrigerate and store in a shallow container and wash only before eating.

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