Picking mulberries and learning about local cider? What a way to cap off June!
At the end of June, NFFTT staff visited some gorgeous trees in Toronto’s East End with the keen, hilarious, and super fun team behind Brickworks Cider.
We started with a very tall tree, shaking down 1 solid pound of mulberries. Due to the height of the tree (around 2 storeys!) this was an impressive harvest, with Brickworks staff scaling a ginormous latter and wielding a special picking pole made by one of NFFTT’s generous storage partners. We like to call it “The Claw.”
Have you ever heard mulberries falling onto a tarp? The sound is incredible: like a brief and heavy rainfall. The act of catching them is fun too, moving the parachute-like tarp around to capture these dark purple berries as they tumble out of the sky. We shared many laughs trying to get them all… with a couple of mulberries bouncing off of our heads!
After this first pick, we were hungry for more! We picked another two trees in the neighbourhood that had lower hanging branches, gathering up an additional 12.5 pounds of fruit. Our Brickworks fruit pickers had boundless energy for getting those berries! It was inspiring to work with such a collaborative, friendly, smart and invested team.
After packing up our equipment, we hopped over to the new Brickworks Ciderhouse where the brewing team were washing and sorting their haul. Head Cider Maker Martha Lowry told us they’d be adding the mulberries to a wooden tawny port wine cask. This cider, infused with NFFTT mulberries from our pick, will be ready after sitting for several months. Our Program Manager Lauren Ramsay was honoured to pour the berries into the cask!
We’re very excited to be collaborating with Brickworks for our City Cider fundraiser on September 16th where you’ll be able to sample some of their amazing creations. We find Brickworks embodies a commitment and attentiveness to community, the environment, local food, and creativity. At Not Far From The Tree, we admire and share these values — as well as a willingness to get your hands a little purple with mulberry juice: see below!