Pakistani Mulberry: A Taste of Home

Food is central to our cultures, experiences, and memories. No one knows that better than the owners of Very Mulberry, a Himalayan purple mulberry farm in Brentwood, California. For Anil, Smita, and Gautam, the Himalayan purple mulberry (or Pakistani mulberry) is a taste of their childhood summers in India.

What is a Himalayan Purple Mulberry (AKA Pakistani Mulberry)?

Pakistani mulberry

There are over 100 kinds of mulberries, but the Very Mulberry team found many varieties to be tart or tasteless. They ultimately chose the Himalayan purple mulberry fruit for its perfect sweetness, texture, and vibrant color.

The Pakistani mulberries at Very Mulberry are about the same price as a box of raspberries. But don’t be fooled by the ordinary cost. This berry is unlike any you’ve ever had before.

It All Started in a Backyard

Growing up in India, Anil regularly attended an outdoor Sabzi Mandi (vegetable market) with his father. After immigrating to the U.S., he continued these weekly farmer’s market runs. But Anil could never find the familiar fruits and vegetables of home at American markets. So, he planted mulberry trees in his backyard and began sharing the harvest with friends, family, and neighbors like Smita.

The joy the fruit brought to families from India and others who grew up with mulberries was infectious. Smita saw the opportunity to do something wonderful for the community. So, she started researching what it would be like to cultivate mulberries on a larger scale.

Farming Nostalgia

Pakistani mulberry farmers Anil and Smita

In 2018, Smita, Anil, and his brother Gautam purchased Habitera Farms, and in 2020, the three started propagating mulberry trees. Mulberry trees are not sold in the U.S., so the team had to cut and graft from the original backyard trees. The trees are not easy to grow, either. It took three years for the farm to be able to start selling at farmer’s markets and open to the public for berry picking. The Very Mulberry U-pick farm is now a popular weekend destination for local families.

The farm has even collaborated with Pints of Joy ice cream to create a mulberry cheesecake flavor and a dairy-free mulberry frozen dessert.

“It was a long time coming, but the reception we’ve been getting, the love that we’ve been getting, makes it all worth it,” Smita said.

If the reactions from visitors are any indication, it’s clear that the Very Mulberry team has accomplished exactly what they set out to do.

“There’s so much emotion when people visit the farm,” Smita shared. “We see a lot of people from countries that are very attached to mulberries, so there’s a lot of nostalgia that comes up.”

Discover more unique fruits this summer: