Mulberry: the king of tree fruits (for pigs)

You may have heard that mulberries were once called “the king of tree crops.” I found the original source for that, and it turns out that the context is a bit less flattering. In honor of the close of mulberry season:

For a large section of the Unites States the mulberry is easily the king of tree crops when considered from the standpoint of this book; namely, the establishment of new crops which are easily and quickly grown and reasonably certain to produce crops for which there is a secure and steady market for a large and increasing output.

The mulberry is an excellent food for pigs.To harvest mulberries costs nothing, because the pigs gladly pick up the fruit themselves. Therefore, mulberries fit especially well into American farm economics because labor cost is high.

The book was originally published in 1929, and the rest is pretty interesting as well, especially for permaculturists. He covers other trees as well, including persimmons (“a pasture tree for the beasts, and a kingly fruit for man”). He too wonders why the persimmon hasn’t caught on in America.



That was wonderful reading.

I’ve never tasted a mulberry that I liked. Maybe some are out there, but they’ve never found me. To me, they taste boring, uninteresting, and I don’t even want to swallow them. Worse - I think of stained cars and stained laundry hanging on the line.

Now when I think mulberries, I can think “bacon”. THAT I can go for!


that is sad. Main reason is that the best tasting mulberry cultivars(the true black mulberries: Morus nigra) will thrive only in the southwest/pacific coastal .

there MUST be a reason why the choice varieties cost 20$ per lb:

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Fun read. I like how they got the regional accents worked in. :smiley: Very vivid!

My tree overproduces to a ridiculous point, so I could see it supporting some large pigs easily. They aren’t my favorites but my husband just loves cooked mulberry, better than all other fruits except apple. I’m thinking some black currant might make it all tastier…still, I would never get rid of that tree.

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I love the taste of my Everberring Illinois. The cat birds and I have been eating them for a few weeks and it looks like they should be producing for a few more weeks. Pick them when they are dark red and they are sweet with a little tartnesss. When black they loss the tartness.

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Jujumul, the reason I’ve never admitted that on here is because I know how very much you like them. Maybe someday I’ll be out West during mulberry season and find that there is a variety that I find tasty enough to enjoy. In the meantime, I’m going to think “bacon”. It’s a much better mental impression than the memories the thought will replace.

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@jujubemulberry makes a great point that seems to be lost on other members. My seedless Morus nigra cultivar is considered by many to be one of the best tasting berries in my orchard.

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Does anyone have the Black Beauty cultivar of Morus Nigra? Is that the best variety? Bay Laurel sells that and another they just call Persian Fruiting Bush. Anyone tasted either?

I grew Pakistan King in CA and it was good but not great.

I actually like them a lot, although a lot of the flavor comes from nostalgia. Even the blander ones have this in their favor: they’re the first thing to produce for me after the long winter, and for no effort.

The other thing they have in their favor is that they’re my only producers at the moment. I’ve just started planting my orchard this year, but the birds were kind enough to plant several mulberry trees on the property for me years ago.

Never had a nigra, sadly. They don’t grow here. I did discover a local tree that is ripe when white,but turns light purple over time. It’s pretty good, and I’m thinking of experimenting with propagating and developing it.

@tjasko - I’m sure you didn’t mean to be vague, but perhaps you could clarify about “them”. It would be helpful to readers in other climates if you and other posters did so.

Noir de Spain is suppose to be near the top in taste concerning Morus Nigra.I had a Black Beauty that died after a couple of years and didn’t get enough of a sampling to make a decision.I’d probably need the two side by side in a taste test to form an opinion.
There is a big Black Beauty at the University of Washington,that I’m going to visit soon,when the fruit are ripe. Brady

When I was young , we would haul square bales of hay for a second income. Often when the fescue hay was ready to be cut and bailed, the mulberries would be just ready to eat. I have very lovely memories of climbing trees at the edge of a field at lunch time to pick mulberries while dad and grampa ate sandwiches.


couldn’t really blame you(or anyone for that matter) for not liking them, as i have tasted some varieties which grow well in the midwest and eastern united states, and most of them taste grassy/bland.
the black mulberries taste awesome though. If you’ve ever had a perfectly ripe blackberry, it tastes almost exactly like it, but without the seeds, and with way more zing and zest. You’d find it incredible it is even related to all the other mulberries you’ve tasted before(alba’s and rubra’s).

while the taste is pretty good, i find it more impressive for all the other qualities re: the fruit and the tree itself, being drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant(las vegas dry heat, btw), and will bear plenty fruits for decades with no need for fertilizers/pesticides.
mulberries also exceed the antioxidant properties of blueberries

I have a large mulberry in the back yard that only has male blooms. What is the best tasting mulberry I can top work it with that is hardy in zone six ?

@Bradybb and @fruitnut, i have both noir de spain and black beauty. And speaking of univ of washington, i actually got both from that state. They are both young and tiny. The black beauty finally produced mature fruits this spring and they were delicious-- in a jolting kind of way, especially if one likes sour with sweet. To me it is better-tasting than any blackberry in its prime. Still waiting for the noir to do something next year. Also have pakistani’s, and gerardi dwarf, which are pretty good, but probably a couple of notches below the nigra’s.

and that easily explains the 20$ a lb price !

I have Illinois Everbearing,Dwarf Girardi,Silk Hope,Pakistan and Wellington.The one I like the best so far is Silk Hope.I should have some scions for these,(Wellington for sure)early next year.Strange thing is,I never had one successful graft yet. Brady

you can try dwarf gerardi’s. They are actually cold-loving alba’s, but grow slowly like nigra’s and seem to be the best-tasting of all alba’s.
You could graft any rubra, alba, or nigra onto your male mulberry. Zone 6 might be too cold for nigra’s though

Thank you juju for the kind reply. I have researched mulberries some but have not heard of dwarf gerardi’s. I will look into them, maybe I can graft some onto my tree.

The Girardi I have is the least flavorful of my group. Brady