Yirmiyahu Zamiri, 69, owner of Zamiri Nurseries in Yesud HaMa’ala (est. 1882 in the Hula valley, north of the Kinneret) has been laboring for eight years on developing his proprietary (there’s a patent) seedless pomegranate, Makor Rishon reported Friday. The new species of pomegranate, dubbed “Wine,” features soft edible seeds, and a much sweeter red fruit, called an aril, around the seed.
Wine, or “Yayin” as it is called in Hebrew, is an acronym for the names of Zamiri’s grandchildren.
According to Chabad.org, the common practice of eating a pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah has to do with its abundant seeds, 613 on average, which symbolize our hope that we will stand before the Almighty with as many abundant merits. However, according to the Ben Ish Chai, on Rosh Hashanah one should eat only a sweet pomegranate, because we want our new year to be sweet.
At which point our friends at Chabad.org note, “Of course, the pomegranates we have today generally have a bitter, pungent taste. It appears that in Baghdad, where the Ben Ish Chai lived (1833-1909), they had sweet pomegranates. So the website suggests that “in light of the custom to refrain from bitter foods on Rosh Hashanah, it would seem proper to dip the pomegranate in sugar to at least diminish its pungency.”
No need to do that any more. Because Zamiri and his sons have invented the Wine pomegranate which is fire-engine red and sweet beyond belief. Israeli consumers will be seeing the first commercial yield on the store shelves this coming week, just in time for Rosh Hashanah. They’re sold to the stores at about 50 cents a pound, but by the time the consumer sees it the sweet fruit’s price might quadruple.
Israel exports upwards of 25 thousand tons on pomegranates a year, and on the week before Rosh Hashanah Israelis consume about 10 thousand tons, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Despite limited research data, marketers of pomegranate juice have “liberally” used results from preliminary research to promote their products, until, in February 2010, the FDA issued a warning letter to POM Wonderful, for using published literature to make illegal claims of “unproven anti-disease benefits.”