Ancient agriculture brings back the foods of the past. Illustration - Gershon Elinson/FLASH90

Methuselah’s Edible Offspring

Ancient agriculture is alive and well in Israel


“Methuselah is a date palm that Dr. Elaine Solowey sprouted from a 2,000-year-old date seed. This seed, among others, was found during the excavations of Masada in the mid 1960’s. In 2005, several of these seeds were obtained by the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center of the Hadassah Medical Organization, which gave them to Dr. Elaine Solowey at the Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Dr. Solowey successfully germinated one of these seeds, which sprouted into a young date palm … today, Methuselah has a permanent home in the Arava Institute research park on Kibbutz Ketura. In the future, the hope is for Methuselah, a male tree, to be bred with a female to produce the same date variety eaten commonly in ancient Judea, where it was valued as much for its delicious flavor as for its medicinal properties.״

This short, outdated description, taken from the webpage of the Arava Institute, only scratches the surface of an amazing project, that only now came to fruition, meaning actual date fruits from two-millennia-old seeds.


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