January 20, 2011

Tu B'Shvat

Perhaps one of our least widely-celebrated holidays, Tu B'Shvat is the Jewish Arbor Day. It's the time (in Israel) when sap begins to flow in the trees and you know spring is on its way. Check out this article on Tu B'Shvat and environmentalism.

Yesterday I was at Costco buying dog food, among other items, and saw small trees for sale. I purchased two genetic dwarf Meteor sour cherries. The tag reads "a natural genetic-dwarf tree with medium size, bright red fruit with tart flesh that is great for pies, jellies and preserves. The tree is very hardy, productive and resistant to leaf spot. Ripens late. Self-fertile."

What does all this mean?

It's a short tree, so that when he picks the fruit, Rik won't fall out of it from too high a height. (In his tumble from our plum tree a couple of years ago, Rik fell fifteen feet from the top of the tree to the ground, and thankfully he hardly had a scratch or bruise.)

It will give sour cherries, for making cherry pie, which are so hard to find, even at farmers' markets.

I didn't have to buy two different kinds of cherries in order for them to cross-pollinate with each other. I did buy two trees because two sour cherries means we should get twice the amount of fruit!

And the two cherry trees will help replace the dead tree we had to cut down this summer and the plum tree that fell over in a recent windstorm.

Of course, we will also celebrate Tu B'Shvat by eating some of the seven fruits of the land of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives,  and dates. I'm thinking pasta with olive oil and a glass of red wine. And I plan to bring both a pomegranate and a bar of World Market pomegranate dark chocolate to tonight's meeting for everyone to share.

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