As spring unfurls into summer, a bird’s-eye view of Sonoma County reveals a patchwork of leafy mulberry trees, many heavy with fruit, stretching from Two Rock to Sonoma, from Lakeville to Dry Creek Valley, from Penngrove to Jenner.
There are old trees, new trees, fruitless trees and trees that produce the rare white mulberry. Mulberries do not ripen all at once. A single tree can be harvested for weeks, beginning in May and continuing through late June.
Some of this local fruit ends up at farmers markets, but it often sells out quickly. Most mulberries, we hear, are enjoyed fresh, but if some manage to make it back home, try them folded into scones and muffins, cooked into jam or chutney, or muddled into refreshing summer drinks, such as this one, inspired by a recipe in Robert Kourik’s 2021 book “Sustainable Food Gardens: Myths & Solutions.”
Makes 1, Easily Doubled
• 1 slice fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter
• 1 small lime wedge
• 3 tablespoons fresh mulberries
• 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 bottle ginger beer (we the Fever Tree brand)
• Ice cubes
• 1 small sprig of mint or cilantro
• 2 or 3 whole mulberries
Put the slice of ginger into a large mug or pint glass and use a wooden pestle to gently pound, or muddle, it. Add the lime wedge and pound gently; then add the mulberries and pound gently again, just enough to break up the berries. Pour in the ginger beer, stir gently, and add three or four ice cubes.
Garnish the drink with the sprig of mint or cilantro, top with whole mulberries, and enjoy.
To make this into a cocktail, add 1 ½ ounces vodka with the lime juice.