Wild in the City: Foraging Fridays

I want to start this post by saying It’s that time of year again, but I realize I say that a lot. This is how I demarcate the year…The greens of Spring…Seedlings Sprouting…Wildflower Moon…Dandelion blessings…Wisteria explosion…and on into Summer and Fall. Homebrew weather. Heirloom Tomato celebrations. Pumpkin moonshine creations. Golden Ginko Biloba. Winter arrives and it is The Time of Water, Rock and Lichen and hibernation snoozes along until the corner is turned and Japanese Plums yell “Surprise!” with their pink blooms.

Still, it is. It is that time. One of many, framed in parentheses, a bubble in the stream.

Look up!

Stonefruit everywhere is growing heavy on the branches and will soon be dropping to sticky mush under your feet. I say it every year, and it bears repeating. There is SO much free fruit to be had on the city streets. I am still bewildered why folks don’t camp out underneath the trees like they do for a sale at Best Buy, to be first in line for the harvest. Thank goodness they don’t I suppose, because it means more for me. If you want to find out where the trees are in your area, Neighborhood Fruit is here to help you. If you have an urban orchard and would like to share the bounty, City Fruit is worth a visit. The Free Farm Stand will also take donations from your sidewalk or back yard trees.

We have been eyeing the tree next door, which is having an enthusiastic year. Typically the fruit is at peak around Summer Solstice, but it’s important to check for ripeness every so often, just in case. Yesterday morning seemed the perfect time.


A birdie with a yellow bill, Hopped upon my windowsill, Cocked his shining eye and said, “Ain’t you shamed, you sleepy head?”

Fern was easily roused, Jeff less so, but we still managed to stumble out of the house quite early for Operation Plum Picking.

This picture makes my heart stand still. She gets me up in the morning by alternating from “I give you a biiiigggg hug” to pint sized efforts at tractor pulling my groggy form out of bed. Last night as she was going to sleep, I was showing her how to count to five on her fingers. One finger at a time, she chanted, “One, Two, Three, Four, One, Two, Three, Four…Five…Four Five Six…Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten!”. The day before she could only count to three. We watched the Wizard of Oz on Monday, and she has spent the week running around the house cackling “I’ll get you my pretty” and pretending to disappear into a thick cloud of sulfur. I look at her and all her previous selves flash in front of my eyes, her infancy in time lapse. What remains the same is the surprise and delight. I couldn’t have guessed her existence, but now that she is here, her mystery makes perfect sense. This is my daughter.

We stopped by the garden to get the fruit picker. We like any excuse to accept the continuous whispered invitation.

We did a plumpness check.

And a butt check.

Dang. Not quite ripe yet.

Our matching strawberries were deserving of documentation.

Dress: new fave thrift store score. Sweater: ground score. Boots: Alemany Flea. Fern’s dress is a hand-me-down from cousin Jilly and her sandals were mine. 

In past years I have made a lot of plum butter, which I may do again this year. But I’m also curious to try a plum wine (Hey Mama Jax, wanna make a date?). Do y’all have any suggestions?

As well, I want to remind you…I will be virtually hosting The Bioregional Swap again this year. (Last year was so much fun! Click on each word in that last sentence for examples of just how much.). As we head into high summer and harvest, I invite you to plan ahead and start putting aside treasures and jars of homemade goodness to send off to your partner. Everyone is invited, and the formal sign-up will happen around the beginning of August.

Have a great weekend!


6 thoughts on “Wild in the City: Foraging Fridays

  1. Aw, I love the matching strawberry dresses, so cute! You are looking quite gorgeous in yours, by the way, like vavavoom…

    Our backyard plum tree is going off this year and I am looking forward to try out some plum preserving. I’ll have to get your plum butter recipe for sure.

    I totally know what you mean, when you see a photo or catch a glimpse of your wee girl that somehow just captures her essence in a way that recalls her past stages and gives you a little peak at what she will one day become all in an instant. I love those moments. How they just fill your heart with awe 🙂

  2. you are a beautiful person, inside and out, my dear. have you started recovering old memories from when you were fern’s age yet? one of the trippiest, coolest and sometimes saddest part of being a parent is the recovered memories. whatever age your kid is, starting around 3ish, you suddenly remember certain old memories from that age. sometimes they are really fragmented, like a smell or an image, or sometimes they are full memories,. it happens to me a lot now as my oldest gets older and older, into ages that i have more awareness of. that feeling you described of knowing fern is your daughter reminds me of those memories. because when you start having them you suddenly realize how separate they are from you, and that someday they will have memories like that, of their mom on a summer day in matching strawberry dresses. anyway, i am exhausted from work and babbling. excuse my rambles. i loved this post.

  3. Absolutely! Get those plums – about 4-5 lbs, get a food grade plastic bucket for the primary ferment (10 days) and 3-4 lbs of honey or white sugar (sugar obviously cheaper and ferments out quicker too). I have an extra gallon glass jug for you w/ a drilled bung & airlock and some cote des blancs yeast that’s just sitting around needing to be used. I can come over and set ya’ up and help you get it going (weekends tied up w/ unpacking but if you have a weekday i am flex). I would love to help you make some wine out of these babies! Call or text me on the cell and we can do it! Yaaay!

  4. Those are some perfect photos Mary. You 100% know how to tell a story with pictures just as well as you do with words. Plums plums plums, people around here will tell you just how much my husband is into stone fruit. Our red plum tree is like an old friend, i worry for it as it is getting rather old now. The yellow plum trees we have bear so much fruit but they swell so quickly with too much water and split before we can pick em. Matching dresses for girls and their mamas are most important and you guys are so flippin sweet. Can’t wait til soon. xxoo and hell yeah I’ll be signing up for the bioregional swap again!

  5. And yes, my own daughter I see…and me i see too. Because we look the same. But her star i think, is much brighter than mine was. x

  6. Hah! I was just looking at the post above, trying to get to this one when I noticed how much older, suddenly , Fern looks. Time flies. I suppose it’s been a year since I first “met” her, but it seems so sudden. She is such a little dear. You two look adorable in your frocks. I wish there were stone fruits falling on my pavement, but alas. And heck yes to another Bio-regional swap! So excited. Much love to you and yours.

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