Our family loves our garden. We (as in the royal "we" - meaning, my husband) have invested tremendous amounts of energy and effort into creating the most interesting garden, gathering the most beautiful trees, flowers and plants, and the most delicious fruit trees.
The pride of our garden is our line of etrog trees, which my husband Israel grew from seeds in our very own home. We've also got kumquats, persimmons, pomegranates, pears and almonds.
Our family has traveled pretty far to purchase exotic plants and trees. Our favorite nursery for exotic plants is the Moshe Wallach Nursery, near Kibbutz Ein Shemer, in northern Israel.
(We discovered Wallach's Nursery in the fabulous volume, "The Book of Amazing Facts and Feats" by Natan Hurvitz and Aharon Yosef Hoffman.)
Moshe Wallach has one of the largest collections of fruit trees in Israel, and even the world. He has circled the globe, discovering unique trees, special varieties of fruits and the most interesting plants around.
Some of the fruit trees that we wish we could buy, like the delectable red annona, Moshe Wallach and his son-in-law Tzur, won't sell to us, because of the colder climate of our region.
However, we have made some purchases at the Wallach Nursery that are perfect for Gush Etzion - the mango-banana-ish paw paw tree (we've got great hopes for it - find out more), a super fruit - the red sweet-pea-like gogi berry from China (read more about the "fountain of youth" berry), the y-u-m-m-y falsa blueberry from India (we love this as much as blueberries, even though these false blueberries have a pit in them - read more here), and the mouth-watering Himelayan mulberry.
Our favorite tree from Wallach's orchard of 300 different types of fruit trees is the Jujube, or Chinese Date. The Jujube has nothing in common with the candy of the same name, even though it is sweet. Actually, it is so sweet and delicious, its delicate taste makes you smile. It's got a tiny crunch with each bite, and an apple texture inside.
The Chinese Date is also called a Ziziphus. It is the size and shape of a date, and is ripe when it turns brown, just like a date.
This season year our Jujube gave us about 20 fruits. We waited until our children were around so that we could share the fruits, whenever we picked them. They were so precious to us, that we ate them sparingly.
Tonight we noticed that there is only one Jujube left on the tree. It's perfectly ripe, but none of us wants to pick it from the tree, because that will leave our lovely Chinese Date tree bare until next year.
We thank Hashem for being able to grow fruits in Eretz Yisrael, including the sweet crunchy Chinese Dates on our tree, and we salute the last Jujube.