Remember: do not EVER eat any wild food that you are not 100% certain is edible! There are those that say "when in doubt just eat a few." This is foolish, and I think you would regret it if you ate "just a few" poison nightshade berries or poison oak berries, don't you?
Here's a little image of what I was able to gather in a couple of hours!
From center: Thimble berries, Salal berries, mulberries and red huckleberries, black cap raspberries, and Himalaya blackberries!
Himalaya blackberries are non native and absolutely delicious! These are the blackberries you have always bought in the store... well you need to no longer!
These easy to ID sweet berries abound in clearings near rivers and streams! Go get them! But remember that the vines are armed with sharp thorns, so long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended.
Also, the berry may be fully black, but it is not truly at its peak sweetness unless it falls almost completely effortlessly into your hand with only the slightest pull. If the fully dark berry feels firm and resists popping off of the vine, it will be fine to eat, but will need to be mixed with sugar and baked in a cobbler, pie, or jam.
Thimble berries like to grow near water and the clearings at the edges of coniferous forests. These seedy, sweet tart raspberry-looking fruits are quite fragile but absolutely incredible! Good news... no thorns and the leaves have a pleasant furry texture that works great for toilet paper. Just kidding, I have never tried that... OK fine, I have, and it is the best leaf in the forest for an unprepared hiker!
Pay close attention to that leaf shape to help identify abundant patches from a distance!
Red huckleberries are sweet and yet tart. They grow under more shaded conifer canopy of more established forests that look like this.
And the berry-rich shrub often grows right out of old rotten tree trunks.
Again, pay attention to that leaf structure as it is quite distinct. I recommend cooking these little ones with a sweeter berry or a bit of sugar unless you want to throw them in pancake batter, cook, and top with maple syrup to balance the slight tart flavor.
Mulberries are not native to California, but are often planted in suburban ares where they are neglected more often than not. You will note that these berries grow on trees rather than shrubs or vines.
Again, pay attention to the leaf shape. Are we seeing a trend here ;)
Finally black cap native raspberries! These are some of my all time favorites! The thorny shrub-like vine looks like a blackberry vine but is gray-green- and purple in color and does not grow down along the ground but instead grows straight up and then stoops over slightly under the weight of its absolutely unparalleled sweet fruit!
So get the family and friends out in the woods and enjoy the adventure and literal fruits of the harvest!
Keep the old ways alive!