11 Jul2008


On our walk down from the quaint village in Anafiotika, on the edge of the Plaka district, we ran across two types of fruit. First, some blackberry bushes that were just past their prime, with the last berries having just fallen off the bush a day or two earlier, and second, some grape vines with lots and lots of young grapes visible to all passersby. It always amazes me when edible fruit grows so naturally in the midst of a fairly heavily populated area, in the same manner that santol trees, tambis, kamias and star apple are abundant in many homes in the Philippines. I have always had a soft spot for blackberries and love them with heavy cream, despite the often large and bothersome pips. one of my favorite gelatos is made with blackberry juice, pips thankfully strained out. When The Kid was some 2 or 3 years old, she asked her mom and dad what blackberries were. Surprised by her fruit knowledge, we asked where she had learned about blackberries, and of course, the obvious answer was that “it was Winnie the Pooh’s favorite snack in the hundred acre woods”… About a week later, while on a business trip to Melbourne, I hit the Victoria market (one of my all time favorite markets) and bought a whole box filled with every berry I could find from raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and a few others. I checked them into the hold of the plane and some 10 hours later, reached home with the berry bounty in tow…


There is nothing like addressing a question or interest of young impressionable kids when the curiosity strikes… so The Kid had now tasted Winnie the Pooh’s favored snack; and there her love affair with berries began. She has turned into a veritable berry monster and gobbles up raspberries, wild strawberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries whenever she has the chance to do so. So while her fascination for Winnie The Pooh has ebbed, it was still pretty cool to come across a massive bush of blackberries on an overgrown footpath in Athens… Growing wild and on public property, nobody seemed keen on eating the luscious looking berries and most had fallen to the ground, rotting and fermenting as only berries do. There were a few whole berries left the crooks of the branches and whole berries on the ground, but I thad a momentary hygiene concern and passed on a taste…


A few more meters away, on the same stroll, we came across incredibly prolific grape vines growing out of someone’s back yard. There were bunches and bunches of young fruit, and I am not sure if these were table grapes but they sure looked good to me! With such healthy plants and foliage, I can see why grape leaves are a big ingredient in Greek cooking, used to wrap up meats and rice and for other such recipes.


Some folks reading this post are probably thinking that Marketman is a bit of a “nut case,” taking photos and glee from fruit on the sidewalk… so be it. :)



  1. natie says:

    hi, MM..i may be jaded in a lot of ways, but i’m like you when it comes to berries and fruits ”on the sidewalk”.. ripening fruits dipping on the sidewalks (outside property line) are fair game to me. grapes on vines are more tempting to pick than the ones in the grocery..berries are now very much in season in the northeast. they are now a bit expensive since they have gained popularity as rich sources of antioxidants.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 5:35 am


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  3. thelma says:

    i love making blackberry jam and giving it out as gifts to my friends….

    Jul 11, 2008 | 6:12 am

  4. aggy says:

    haha…our school playground is “accesible” to the neigbor’s blackberry bushes, some of the branches jut out to our playground fence and my students and i get a taste every now and then, they are so sweet because they are tree and sun-ripened and are probably organic :)

    Jul 11, 2008 | 6:32 am

  5. Mila says:

    Maybe it would not have been too obvious if you swiped a few of the grape leaves to make dolma.
    My sister just dropped off bottles of blackberry preserves!

    Jul 11, 2008 | 7:38 am

  6. consol says:

    nut case? definitely NOT!!!! if you are, then i’m your ward mate in the same asylum heeeheeeheee hahaha (*maniacal laughter*)

    seriously though, i love love love your blog! i get to ‘see’ the world through your eyes. my heartfelt thank you for sharing, dear MM. keep ’em coming!

    Jul 11, 2008 | 7:42 am

  7. elaine says:

    I’m quite impressed with the kid’s charming tastes in foods like blackberries:) My choice of berries are quite selective and boring as compared to the kid’s. I enjoy looking at your photos though, and would probably take pictures myself if I were there.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 8:32 am

  8. Regina Orio says:

    I might be mistaken but could those berries really be mulberries? They grow wild in the city here in the US. You can tell them because they have a rather bothersome stem that grows right through the berry. You can always tell when they’re ready to pick because the sidewalk is always stained below the tree. The berries are also very fragile and turn your fingers blue when you pick them. We try to pick enough for a mulberry parfait pie that I found in a wild cookbook.
    Please correct me if I’m thinking of another berry altogether.
    Anyway, the grapes look so pretty hanging there–I bet they taste good!

    Jul 11, 2008 | 8:35 am

  9. AleXena says:

    All types of berries are good. It is said to have antioxidants that is good to fight cancer.=)

    Unfortunately, I have only tasted fresh starwberries, the rest of the berries I tasted (bluberries, raspberries and blackberries) are either canned or preserved.

    I know these type of berries are not suitable for a tropical climate, but I read before that some local berries grow in mountainous region. I sure hope though that we can locally produce them.=)

    Jul 11, 2008 | 8:48 am

  10. risa says:

    Like Regina, I suspect that these are mulberries. I don’t remember mulberries to have any pits.

    Right behind the Xavier Hall in Ateneo Loyola is a flourishing and fruiting mulberry tree. In second year, our Biology teacher showed us the tree and proceeded to pick and pop the fruits in her mouth. So it CAN grow and fruit here. For the rest of my years in college, I made sure to sample the fruit when it was in season (August if I am not mistaken.) Like Aggy’s comment, sun ripened is best!

    Jul 11, 2008 | 9:36 am

  11. joey says:

    Aw! Winnie the Pooh…I loved him too :)

    Im our house in Athens we had grape vines growing on a canopy on our rooftop, where we use to hang our laundry. They weren’t that sweet but being able to pick fresh grapes while hanging the sheets more than made up for it! :)

    Jul 11, 2008 | 9:56 am

  12. Larees says:

    “Some folks reading this post are probably thinking that Marketman is a bit of a “nut case,” taking photos and glee from fruit on the sidewalk…”

    My bestfriend I and do the same thing whenever we go on vacation and come across such things…I find it very interesting. So don’t worry MM, you’re not the the only ‘nutcase’ around.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 11:18 am

  13. zena says:

    I love berries too. But have tasted only strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, fresh. Umm, MM, had to check out the first photo 2x even if the post said blackberries. They kinda resemble poop that had a very difficult time getting out. I like them better on the trees. =)

    Jul 11, 2008 | 11:36 am

  14. lee says:

    i remember a mulberry tree in my lola’s yard. berry small…

    Jul 11, 2008 | 12:07 pm

  15. Vicky DeR says:

    No you’re not a nutcase MM. I myself would do the same thing. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful adventures.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 12:07 pm

  16. Lex says:

    They are definitely not mulberries. Mulberries look like a miniature bunch of grapes and are red when unripe and turn black.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 2:26 pm

  17. Roberto Vicencio says:

    So the song “going round the mulberry bush” is a lie?

    Jul 11, 2008 | 4:29 pm

  18. risa says:

    I will bet a bottle of wine that these are mulberries. Or they could be freakish blackberries.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 4:32 pm

  19. Cecile J says:

    I think they are mulberries too. We had a tree in our old house in Makati. They are sweet when tree-ripened. Their juice leaves nasty stains on clothes and on the sidewalk when they splatter….ah, brings back childhood memories!

    P.S. – Am a nutcase too!

    Jul 11, 2008 | 4:48 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    Hi everybody. They certainly COULD be mulberries, particularly as mulberries thrive in that part of the world. But they were huge, more the size of blackberries, more common to North America. At any rate, the photos of the “bush” I found them near don’t help, as their leaves don’t match either a mulberry tree leaf nor a blackberry bush leaf. So the bush may have been totally unrelated to the fruit. At any rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were mulberries, which I have never tasted… Here is one of dozens of photos of blackberries. And one of mulberries. I would certainly believe anyone who felt strongly about this. :)

    Jul 11, 2008 | 6:04 pm

  21. openonymous says:

    That is so funny that you wrote about berries and grapes, coz in my yard here in massachusetts, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries grow wild, I mean I never planted it, the birds took care of that. The blackberry plants are thorny, the blueberry shrubs are like small trees and the raspberries are just everywhere,wild grapes grow abundantly too, and the fruit never gets bigger than raisin sized, but the taste is so different than table grapes when one drinks grape soda, that’s what it tastes like.. I planted some blue and green grapes, but we never harvested the fruits, they are for the squirrels and chipmunks that reside in my yard, the rabbits cannot reach the fruits, so they just eat the ones that fall on the ground.About this time of the year, the raspberries and blackberries are usually dried up but the grapes and blueberries should be ready by Fall.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 6:57 pm

  22. j. says:

    In Sacramento/Elk Grove, where my family is based, there are wild berry brambles EVERYWHERE (if there are no new housing developments nearby, which just so happens to be the case)! In the South Bay (SF Bay Area), there are plenty on the hiking trails…it is just amazing to see the berries ripening on the vine

    Jul 11, 2008 | 9:51 pm

  23. siopao says:

    yup, those do look very much like mulberries. We have a tree at home and I practically grew up munching on those. Mulberry trees are actually very easy to grow in the Philippines. You only need a stick or a branch of the tree and stake it in the ground for it to grow into a fruiting specimen.

    It’s always fascinating to see produce usually seen only on supermarket shelves either dried or processed very much alive and growing almost wild in a public place. Reminds me of the almond trees I saw along the road in Israel.

    Jul 11, 2008 | 10:09 pm

  24. nonymous says:

    MM’s photo is definitely Mulberry!

    Jul 12, 2008 | 8:07 am

  25. jayjay says:

    my lola had a fruiting mulberry tree in her front yard in iloilo, but i never got to ask about its ‘provenance (lola passed away a few years ago).’ i wonder why it’s not more common, seeing that it does survive and thrive in the tropics. too bad.

    Jul 12, 2008 | 6:03 pm

  26. corrine says:

    Can somebody please post a photo of the mulberry tree grown in the Phils? I have a tree in my front yard that bears round purple berries that seriously stains our car when they fall. I don’t know if it’s mulberry but it’s a big tree. From the discussions it sounds like a small tree. Thanks!

    Jul 13, 2008 | 11:40 am

  27. erbie says:

    you can check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulberry, as mulberry is a genus of 10 to 16 plants. :). hope this helps

    Jul 13, 2008 | 7:50 pm

  28. Blaise says:

    MarketMan, You have waxed poetic again.. I really enjoy reading your posts.. =)

    Jul 18, 2008 | 8:35 am

  29. allan says:

    hello market man, i reside in baguio and there are plenty of blackberry trees around here. but unfortunately the fruits are not populary sold in the market. few years back, i happen to see a boy selling blacberries in the overpass towards the market, and i delightfully bought a kilo of it. my mom combined it with rhubarb to make a jam. and also my siter used it to make muffins replacing the more commone blueberries. i really find them good or even better than the blueberries! now, i wanted to propagate it but i dont know where i can find seedlings that would perhaps produce fruits quickly. can anybody help me. thanks!

    Jun 23, 2009 | 7:32 pm


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