Jun 6, 2022 - News

How to forage (illicitly) for food in Texas

Picking mulberries in Austin.
Sizing up some mulberries — which are still a little red for the taking. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

🦹‍♂️ Asher here, your neighborly lawbreaker.

Let me explain: I've been spending a lot of time lately foraging — seizing fruit from bushes and trees.

Why it matters: A lot of food is just waiting to be harvested in Austin. Much of it is really good — and a lot goes to waste.

Among my South Austin neighborhood favorites: mulberries and blackberries.

  • Soon I'll be plucking loquats and figs. Later, pomegranates. And, of course, in the fall I love to crack pecans with the bottom of my shoe and pull out the nut meat.
  • Also, when lamb is on the menu, I snip rosemary — though much of that remains wiped out from last year's winter storm.

Don't worry: I stick to public rights of way — sidewalks and alleys — as I harvest my spoils. (I also scoop up fruit that's fallen onto sidewalks, as long as it seems relatively fresh.)

🚨 Threat level: Turns out I might be stealing.

  • Austin attorney John Philip Donisi told me that "if the trunk of a fruit tree is on private property, the tree and the fruit it bears belong to the property owner — even if fruit-laden branches overhang a neighboring property or public property."
  • Also: I may have already inducted my little kids into a life of crime — my 4-year-old is crackerjack at reaching low-to-the-ground berries.

The bottom line: Your faithful correspondent may be a crook.

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