A Few of My Favorite Weird Fruits and Nuts

A Few of My Favorite Weird Fruits and Nuts

I apologize farm friends, for the past few emails have been all about commerce. I’d like to serve up some more interesting fruit tree content today instead. 

To get the marketing stuff out of the way, the You Pick Roses field is open and on sale. Our two upcoming new events still have tickets available: Flower Crown Workshop and Books under the Boughs.

Now onto the fruit! If you like this edition of our farm newsletter, let me know! I will happily write about rare fruits all day long.

White Mulberries

I grew up with a huge mulberry tree in my childhood neighborhood. It was a standard purple fruiting variety. This tree graciously ripened right when school let out for the summer. All the kids in the neighborhood would flock to it. In that bygone era of reckless disregard for safety, we would free climb high into its branches and gorge for hours. I have such memories of coming home with my hands and face stained violet and crimson from the delicious berries.

Traditional mulberries have fallen out of favor for they are messy trees, it’s true. Not everyone wants their driveway, sidewalk or shirt stained purple. Instead, I recommend planting white mulberries! They don’t stain, and dare I say, have even better flavor than their traditional counterparts.

 My trees come from Trees of Antiquity, but I am told mulberries are easy to start from cuttings. They do not need to be grafted onto other root stock. If anyone wants to try to start some, I am happy to provide cuttings to local farm friends.

Green and Red Walnuts

All walnuts go through an early development phase where they are considered “green.” Before their shell and husk harden up, they are soft and wonderfully fragrant. Green walnuts are most famously used to make nocino. Nocino is an Italian liquor made from green walnuts and other spices. There are lots of recipes to try from a quick internet search. It’s quite tasty when aged a few years. Green walnuts can also be turned into a jam or pickled.

This photo is of tiny green walnuts that have just set as fruit. They are about the size of a pea. They will be perfect for use as green walnuts in a month from now when they are more the size of a cherry.

Red walnuts refer to a specific variety of walnut that develops red kernels when ripe, the Robert Livermore walnut. They are fantastic, with a mild and only lightly tannic taste. They are my favorites in the orchard, and I highly recommend them. Once again, my trees come from Trees of Antiquity.

Goumi Berries

Nope, not goji berries, I said goumi berries (eleagnus multiflora). These gorgeous little morsels are grown from tough bushes that fix nitrogen and need almost no care. The fruits are tart, astringent, and delicious when fully ripe. They have a host of health benefits, but like mulberries they don’t transport well. So they will never be seen in a commercial grocery store. All the more reason to grow them yourself! My plants come from Raintree Nursery.

Links and Shares

Here is some of the best I have read and seen on the internet and beyond this past month.

A short and fantastic article about the mistaken categorization and lethal history of weeds.

Take a few minutes to enjoy this gorgeous interactive feature, Breathing with the Forest. It's gorgeous.

My long read recommendation of the month is The Paradise Notebooks. A geologist and a poet go on a 90 milk walk through the Sierras, and carefully describe what they see from their very different and equally fascinating perspectives. The illustrations are sweet too.

Gardening is good for you, science says so. I mean, we all knew this but it's great to see some data and proper studies too. The New York Times ran a recent article about the various physical and mental health benefits too.

That's it for now, but I will be back with another newsletter post soon. In the next one, I plan to talk about the fruits that are called guavas but aren't, like this flowering feijoa.


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