The open-air market in Nazareth is a fine place to discover what local fruits and vegetables are in season here in the Galilee. A visit to the market at the eve of the Jewish New Year reminded me of the Biblical seven species -- the foods that were listed as those to be found in the Promised Land -- which are: wheat, barley, olives, grapes, figs, pomegranates and honey (dates). These seven agricultural products represent two growing seasons -- the winter/spring for the grains, and the summer/autumn for the remainder. Now, at the height of the fall season, the market stands were loaded with purple and green grapes, fat crimson pomegranates and the small, light green variety of figs that mark the end of the summer. But the star of the market show was undeniably the dramatic fronds of bright red dates.
What was missing out of the summer fruits? Only the olives are still ripening on the trees, and we'll only begin to see them in the coming weeks -- bringing one agricultural season to a close with the coming of the first winter rains.
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Publication date: September 25, 2012