The aronia* berries are ready in the public park two miles from my home. I passed them yesterday while Traveling at the Speed of Bike. But I won’t be making a berry cobbler with them, as I did five years or so ago (pictured) when they were first full of fruit (and which I shared with some city representatives as I had been hoping we could add more public fruit to our city, or at least protect the fruit we had). That’s because I’ve noticed over the years that the city dowses the area around them with chemicals. You notice these kinds of things when you ride your bike.
So no berry cobbler. But I did wander off the path and pass a wild patch of scuppernongs (yellow-skinned muscadines, as opposed to purple mascadines, which are just called muscadines) that’s not quite ripe yet. I’ll be back.
If you are curious about this topic, you can read some stories about public fruit starting on page 103 of my book. And then maybe take a look around where you live. You might be surprised at the bounty. Check to be sure there is clover and/or other “weeds” beneath the trees and bushes before indulging. (Also make sure you have a positive identification of the fruit before consuming so that it is not something poisonous or allergenic.) Here in metro Atlanta, I snack on public fruit while Traveling at the Speed of Bike from mulberries in May through native persimmons that hang from leaf-free trees like Christmas ornaments as late as December.
* Aronia juice is sold in natural food stores as a “superfood.” And it’s expensive.