ONE OF the recreational Do-It-Yourself (DIY) activities you will enjoy if you visit the Fairy Story Village Organic Farm B&B in Yilan, Taiwan, is mulberry picking. That was what we particularly enjoyed during our visit on April 11, 2016, together with a number of Philippine media practitioners. The farm is managed by a hard-working leisure farmer – Tseng Yi Hsuan. Of course, mulberry picking is just one of 12 DIYs you can enjoy there.
The farm is organic so right away you can eat the fruits you pick. The trees are low-growing because they have been drastically pruned. The fruits ripen in succession. One branch may sport a few ripe fruits followed by so many others in different stages of development.
The fruits become red or purple when they ripen. They are sweet so kids and adults alike like to eat them straight from the tree. Of course, the fruits can be made into jam, juice and can also be incorporated in salads and other food preparations.
The mulberry tree is not only valued for its fruits. The leaves are the staple food for silkworms. They are also used to feed livestock such goats, cattle, sheep and more.
There are many varieties of mulberry. Some have fat long fruits like a finger.Others are smaller but they are very prolific. In Taiwan and in Thailand, we have seen mulberry trees being made into bonsai. They are particularly attractive when they are heavily laden with fruits.
In the Philippines, the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in Bacnotan, La Union, has a big collection of different mulberry varieties that are used in silkworm production.
Maybe some enterprising Filipinos should consider planting mulberry in their farms to attract visitors.