Wild strawberries: one of the small, sweet pleasures of my home town. These berries shine from patches of grass and forest without any cultivation or any say-so by any human.
Black raspberries, aka black caps (they are a deep purple when ripe. The pictured berries aren’t quite there). Yet another serendipitous find. When I was a kid, they were curly wigs on my imagined finger people, or crowns or coins or cakes. Unfortunately, they love to grow near poison ivy. Almost every summer, those insidious oils found me and laid me out with oatmeal compresses on the backs of my legs or calamine lotion covering one swollen eye. Even the plumpest of these berries won’t fit on my finger anymore, but I still savor them whenever I’m willing to hunt — and court itchy disaster.
Mulberries. I still feel a smile every time I walk by a mulberry tree. Whether it’s in someone’s back yard, or along the exhaust-laden sidewalks of 16th Street, I’ll halt my purposeful D.C. walk to pick them. The older trees give you the sweetest berries, my dad used to tell me. I know people who have special shirts just for picking mulberries because of the stains, my mother said.
Perennial wild berries: You could walk by and not even notice them. Or you could notice them.