Seeds of change in Israel

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by Michaelangelica, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    May 2, 2006
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    By this 21st-century trade route, Weiss has acquired the beautiful Pacay tree, a species native to Peru. Nicknamed the Marshmallow of the Andes, for its deliciously refreshing vanilla ice cream-flavored fruit, the tree has acclimated well to Israel’s dry climate. It grows beside another South American crop, the Brazilian Cherry, or Pitanga, a bushy plant that bears small red fruit with a sweet and sour flavor.

    Asked whether these plants belong in Israel, Weiss replies by pointing to a small red berry hidden between the leaves on a green bush. “Try this,” he says, pointing to another South American plant known as Bunchosia Argentea. “It tastes like peanut butter!” The question, in fact, is irrelevant. Weiss feels that there is no harming the local ecosystem. “People here have been trading plants for 7,000 years.” In his private garden, he is at liberty to experiment on a small scale and he is encouraged to report his findings.

    Weiss collaborates with other enthusiasts as a member of Israel’s Exotic Fruit Association, a group founded 20 years ago to propagate foreign crop species in Israel. Though they receive little funding, they often are invited to public events, conventions, and high-profile meetings with Israeli heads of state to showcase their exotic produce. As Israel expands its palate for rare fruits, members of this association provide research results and special crop previews.

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