Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Exploring Mullberry Diversity!

Above are pics of some of the mullbery diversity we are currently exploring on the farm. Castanea of Homegrown Goodness ( was kind enough to share with many of us fruit/seed of Morus Australias, Oscars (nigra), Illinois Everbearing (a reputed hybrid of Morus Alba and Morus Nigra), and Pakistani Mullbery (presumably Alba).

The seedlings in the picture are from various local trees of Nigra, Rubra, Alba, and various mixed progeny including (in the pots) white fruited Morus Alba from our friend Karen and a pink fruited Morus Alba from a neighboring farm.

Here on this farm we love mullberries, they make fantastic pies, jams, wines and more and are great for fresh eating and wonderful forage for the turkeys. I've been yearning for more white fruited germplasm for a couple years to match my 3 accessions of white blackberries and several accessions of white strawberry (and now my single white raspberry plant, not yellow, not orange, white as the driven snow).

I have read that the pakistani mullberry and the australias are catered to growing one zone warmer than what we are rated, but I have found many red and pink alba types growing here, so I'm hedging my bets by growing these. I'm also willing to bet that there are various crosses which will increase hardiness within this germplasm though I might have to select hard for the white and pink colors. I am particularly excited to get ahold of the white fruited Australius variety, not only are Australius types hard to come by, but the white fruited types are particularly hard to find. By the time the berries got here from Castanea the white ones had already oxidized so I didn't bother to taste them, but while extracted the seeds I could tell the fruit was very fragrant and I figure even if the taste is sub par (as most reports of white berries are) I figure they will make a wonderful white mullberry type wine, look excellent as ornamentals, and most likely the turkey and guinea flocks won't descriminate against them.


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