The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. In Lebanon it is typically in season from September to February. Its name derives from Medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”. While the apple usually takes the blame for humanity’s fall from grace, some biblical scholars have suggested that the forbidden fruit of the Bible wasn’t an apple, but this red beauty.
The Sisters or The Sisters Olive Trees of Noah are tucked away in the sleepy village of Bechealeh, in the North of Lebanon. They are a grove of sixteen olive trees, the oldest olive trees in the world, that have witnessed 5000 years of political unrest, plagues, diseases, varying climatic conditions and changing civilizations. The Sisters’ are said to be from an undocumented olive tree variety, an ancestor of the Balasi Ayrouni. They remain one of the great unresolved and virtually unexplored pre-Biblical mysteries; common folklore and a few Biblical Scholars believe that these are the trees from which the dove took the branch back to Noah when the deluge subsided.
Lebanon, which has a variety of agricultural lands, from the interior plateau of the Bequaa valley to the narrow valleys leading downward to the sea, enables farmers to grow all kinds of crop. Tobacco and figs are grown in the south, citrus fruits and bananas along the coast, olives in the north and around the Shouf Mountains, and fruits and vegetables in the Beqaa Valley. More exotic crops include avocados, grown near Byblos. The very rare combination of clay/silty soil, calcareous water, and an average of 300 days of Mediterranean sunshine provides an environment in Lebanon for outstanding full flavoured fruits and vegetables. The fact that Lebanon has an area of 10452 km2 makes it possible for us to eat fresh produce all year long.