Where there's toot...
...there are Palestinians! It's true! The subtley sweet lucious, oblong mullberry is in high season now. Few people here know they are even edible, I think. And because they drop to the ground when they are ripe for picking, even fewer bother to. But the trees are everywhere you go here (at least in Virginia and Maryland, and I remember seeing a few in Massachusetts a few years ago), usually discretely hidden amongst other trees, in parks or forest; and if you look closely, you'll find wild rasberry bushes of different varieties (we found yellow and black) lurking not far behind. We went berry picking (and eating) a few times, and Yousuf ate I think his weight in berries :); and we had a lot of curious passers-bys, with kids asking their father's "what are they eating"?
And almost every tree (or other berry farm) we'd go to, we'd find some Palestinians or Syrians picking too. That's because the trees, know as toot trees back home, are very popular and considered somewhat of a delicacy because the berries are hard to collect and are extremely perishable. Usually a small container sells for 10 shekels in Gaza fruit stores.
There is something of respect and heritage associated with the toot tree, because like the olive tree and the jumaiz tree (cousin of the fig), they have deep-roots and last for hundreds of years and are a sign of steadfastness and resiliency (sadly, the jumaiz is a dying breed, with many of the remaining trees in Gaza, including that whose drooping branches we used to swing on in my grandfather's farm, bulldozed in the early days of the Intifada by Israeli troops).