Kaufman planted fig trees, olive trees, oaks, mulberries, carobs, date palms, plum trees and of course pomegranates. The orchard blends in with the natural streamside vegetation, which includes oleander, sycamore, terebinth, and Kaufman added papyrus. He began the planting project a decade ago and continues it to this day, and you can see mature trees alongside sleeves protecting saplings.
When the pomegranates ripened, KKL-JNF organized a Free on Friday outing and welcomed the public to “pocket” the fruit. The purpose was to cover the ripe fruit with bags, in order to protect them from birds and pests. The pomegranate trees are now standing in the orchard with brown paper bags hanging on them, some with graffiti as a souvenir. The “pickpockets” wrote “Ariel’s pomegranate” on one bag, “protecting our nature” on another, all in honor of this magnificent fruit.
The pomegranate is a tree that does not grow to great heights. In the winter it loses its leaves, and in the spring it gets covered again with reddish foliage that turns green about a month after budding. In the beginning of summer, it covers itself with red flowers, and at the end of the summer, hanging on its branches are fruits that resemble Chinese lanterns. The ripe fruit resembles an uneven sphere with its tip decorated by a crown that remained from the calyx. The pomegranate contains hundreds of red or pink juicy seeds. It tends to crack when it ripens. The tree originated in the region of the Caspian Sea, where it was domesticated over 5,000 years ago, and you can still see it growing wild in that region. In Israel it does not germinate itself naturally but is successful when it is planted by hand. There were originally two main species, one with a dark colored peel and a tart taste and the other with a light colored peel and sweet seeds. Today there are two additional species, one of them with an almost black peel, another hard one with no seeds, and miniature species for ornamentation.
Hikers may cross the Harod River streambed in shallow water and walk on narrow paths between the trees in the orchard. Not only does the pomegranate bear fruit, but the date palms are also weighed down by golden clusters, the fig trees are fragrant, and their fruits are waiting for hikers.