All around my town in Central Israel, the trees have put forth luscious fruit. My own building’s yard has a lemon tree that gives more fruit than we neighbors know what to do with.
This year’s fruit is under Shmitta law still, so I haven’t harvested any. All the same, it’s a pleasure to walk around and see the fruit growing almost at hand’s reach, in gardens, parks, and sidewalks around where I live. In some gardens, oranges, tangerines, guavas, and quinces are so abundant that the fruit falls to the ground and just stays there. The owners readily give permission to do a little urban foraging.
These yellow dates are dry and tasteless if you eat them right off the tree. However, they magically turn sweet and juicy after being frozen a while. They’re quite expensive in the markets – but these are free if you feel like shinnying up the date palm and fetching some.
Gorgeous citrus fruit like these pomelos grows everywhere. Near my building there is an old, abandoned house where fig sycamore, pomegranate, Seville orange, almond, grapefruit, and this pomelo tree, grow untended. The trees haven’t been watered or sprayed for over a decade, but the fruit is candy-sweet.
We’ve had permission to take a few bananas from this bush, which grows in a yard around the corner. I like to get them green and sautee them in a little oil, when I get nostalgic for certain Venezuelan dishes.
Nearby grow some old mulberry trees, which stain the pavements with their juicy, purple berries in May. Nobody cares how much you take, if you’re willing to look like you just murdered somebody after picking. But only the neighborhood boys climb up the branches and sit there like monkeys, eating whatever’s in reach. A pity; the fruit is there, fresher than fresh and free. I confess that to make my mulberry wine, I buy the berries in the shuk. You need 3 kg. to make a gallon of wine, and there’s no way I’m going to go up a tree to forage that much fruit. Regretfully, though, I think of how much sweeter the berries from the neighborhood trees are…
A Lovely Lemon Tree, set against the mystical, medieval town of Tsfat (Safed), and the melting Meron hills. Not at all close to where I live. I include this photo because I’ll be visiting Tsfat over the next few days, and so won’t be blogging till Tuesday.
Artists are attracted to Tsfat because of its unique energy, beauty, isolation, history, crystal air, mountain views, slower pace – who knows? Many set up exhibits in their homes, and some have shops catering to the tourists in the Artist’s Market. Here’s a little glimpse.
Till Tuesday, folks!