dedicated to Claire
As I have said in the past, I’ve been a city boy all of my life. Lived in apartments for most of it; and even when I lived in houses, they were squeezed into the city block, with only symbolic patches of earth around… not enough to get on a personal relationship with plants and trees. I’ve loved nature, but gotten to know it in parks; and when traveling, in forests, and in the desert… and sometimes even in the fields. But always as a visitor. I did have a short stint on kibbutz (the unique communes found in Israel), and while there, learned to grow bananas. Aside from that, I never had much luck, even with potted plants. I’ve tried a number of times, but always failed. I got advice. I was giving too much water or not enough water… too much sun or not enough sun.
Fortunately, my children have succeeded where I have failed. And it has been a great pleasure for me to watch them grow fruit trees, and beautiful flowers. For most of them have chosen to bring up their children in the atmosphere of the country, living in little villages scattered around the country. It has been especially gratifying, to watch the successes of Rivka, my daughter. She moved into a new home, just a couple of years ago, a home that she and her husband built themselves. A beautiful home, designed by her husband, Giddi.
One of the first things they did after moving into the new home, was to plant trees and a beautiful garden. Rivka, though working full time outside of the home, made the vegetable patch her special project. And often, when she comes to visit, she brings with her, fruits of her garden. I have enjoyed eating all manner of home grown vegetables, and wonderful vegetable salads. I especially love the little red peppers that she brings me, and they seem to last forever after they have been dried, and retain both flavor and sharpness.
Recently she told me about her success with passionflowers. Not only did they give fruit, but she had to generously supply them to her friends, because there was much more than she could eat. When she brought me a big baf of the fruit, I told her that it was a waste on me, ‘cause I found them difficult to eat because of all the seeds. ‘Oh no’, she said… ‘You’ve got to try these. They are so luscious and tasty. I’ll make you passionflower juice’. I thought that that too would be a waste. How much juice could we get out of a passionflower fruit? But she insisted.
She came by, the week before last, with a huge bag filled with fruit, and went to work trying out all the different tools I have for making juice, including an electric juicer which I use to make carrot juice. She let me know, diplomatically, that my juicer wasn’t the best I could have found, and as she checked out the different tools I had, it turned out that the oldest one, the hand press that I use to make pomegranate juice, was the best suited to the job. But a lot of the seeds still remained in the juice. So she got out a sieve, and poured the juice through that, afterwards squeezing more of the juice through the net of the sieve with the help of the back of a soup ladle.
We sipped the juice that had been produced by the juicer too, and the taste was not as good as that made with the hand press and the sieve. Seems the juicer crushed some of the seeds too. And those seeds influenced the taste of the juice. The purest, sweetest taste came from the juice made with the hand press. And it was wonderful. I think that a good part of my happiness, as I drank the juice, came from knowing that it had been organically grown, and grown by Rivka in her own garden… and of course, watching the process of the juice in the making.