I have this vague memory of a sunny day many, many years ago on which I tried my first mulberry. Mum and Dad told me that we never had many because the worms always got to them first. I don't remember seeing or eating mulberries again until last Christmas.
Josh and I traveled down to Beechworth, in Victoria, to spend some time with his family. We visited Didda's farm, spent afternoons frolicking in the lake and made a few trips to Stanley's High Grove Farm. Mulberries were the biggest treat of all because I hadn't even thought that they would be available to pick. But pick, I did. They're sweeter than the fresh raspberries I originally went foraging for, and subtler than the fragrant, almost-iridescent blueberries. One night, while tucking into a kilo of fresh mulberries, I realised that I was so contented but so totally over-the-moon with excitement, all at once. There really is nothing better than just-picked berries, but I had always considered mulberries to be a rarity.
I still consider them so, but my discovery of a local fruit and veg shop stocking fresh mulberries was super exciting. As soon as I saw them on the shelf I was reminded of how much I had missed them: those little red freckles on such a dramatic black fruit, and the way they stain my fingers to resemble the darkest midnight sky. It turns out I'm not the only one who feels this way, though. Every punnet has usually sold by 10am!