So last year I wrote about how many fantastic fruit and nut trees are growing all over Würzburg, and our love of foraging for free goodies. While I was excited about the plum, nut and the occasional cherry tree growing on our street and in our neighborhood, we’ve since learned that that was only the tip of the iceberg.
We found the motherload, kids.
A few weeks ago, the Mr. and I discovered a lovely walk through old orchards and vineyards down to a small village called Randesacker. You then can walk from Randesacker along the Main River into Würzburg. While it’s a very nice walk indeed, what is even more exciting about it from my point of view is the number of old cherry trees (and other fruit trees) growing along the way, particularly next to the vineyards. Last week, we did the walk and were astounded by all the cherries that we saw growing. What is even more astounding is that it appears NOBODY IS HARVESTING THEM.
I love cherries. In fact, I realized after eating some growing in the wild in Scotland a few years back that fresh, ripe, sweet cherries are probably my favorite fruit (with blueberries being a very close second.) So discovering all of these cherry trees, practically dripping with sweet, ripe, and plentiful fruit, was quite simply a little bit of heaven for me.
We greedily picked as many as we could eat (without making ourselves sick) and stuck some in our bag for later. We then came back a few days later with a backpack.
When we tell people about these trees, they say surely they must belong to someone. Surely someone must harvest the fruit. But we’ve been back multiple times, with much of the fruit being at its absolute peak, and none of it is being harvested. The only cherries you *sometimes* see missing are the ones from lower branches (and after a few trips, much of what was missing could be attributed to us!) During our last walk up, we took a different path along the vineyards and found even more cherry trees covered in fruit. It was just unbelievable. What’s also interesting is that sheer variety of cherries; big, bright red fruit to small, almost black cherries, and each has a different flavor.
In addition to the abundant cherry trees, we also found walnut and hazelnut trees that we plan to return to later in summer. The Mr. cracked a walnut open discovered a soft, almost spongy nut forming inside. I took a tiny bite and it was very, very bitter.
At the end of the walk, close to Randesacker, we found a mulberry tree. The Mr. said he thinks most Germans these days don’t even know that mulberries are edible. The huge, old tree was also bursting with fruit so ripe and sweet, it would literally fall off onto your hand as you picked it.
On the one hand while it’s fantastic that we pretty much have these fruit trees to ourselves to plunder, I have to say it always breaks my heart a little when I look up and see all the fruit up high that’s just left to fall off and rot. You don’t know how many times I’ve talked about buying a ladder, a fruit picking device and coming back in the dead of the night.