The OLIVE is a stout evergreen fruit-bearing tree native to Israel and the Mediterranean region. A most unique, resolute tree, because of its deep roots into rocky soil, it can live for hundreds, even, some thousands of years in spite of fire, drought, and disease.
The FIG is a large tenacious tree which bears a fragile, highly sweet fruit in the hot summer months. The fig, or te’ena in Hebrew, is native to Israel and the Ancient Near East and is well known in many biblical accounts. It is one of the first trees mentioned in the Bible when Adam and Eve used its large, uniquely shaped leaves to sew for themselves coverings.
The POMEGRANATE is a deciduous tree with a deep red, seed-like fruit enclosed in individual pulp kernels. In Israel its fruit ripens at the end of summer, usually during September and October. The pomegranate has a long association with biblical agriculture—from Moses’ twelve spies sent to Canaan who bring back pomegranates as proof of Canaan’s productivity (Num 12:23) to the prophets, Joel and Haggai, who both envision a terrible day when Israel’s prolific fruit trees, like the pomegranate, hang barren.
Honey is a sweet food which is obtained from several sources, the most prominent being bees’ production from flower nectar. Honey was used as a multifaceted, diverse symbol within the biblical text. The Bible’s well-known description of Canaan, as a “land flowing with milk and honey,” has often been interpreted as a testimony to the Land’s abundance and blessing.
The GRAPE VINE is a climbing woody plant which produces a highly sweet, clustering fruit. Besides the olive tree, the grape vine was one of the most cultivated trees in Israelite culture and was predominately grown to produce wine.
WHEAT is a cereal grain and the second of the seven species harvested after winter. Like barley, wheat was an essential Israelite staple for making bread and porridge. In contrast to the more durable and coarser barley, wheat’s high maintenance made it more expensive and, oftentimes, food of the privileged.
BARLEY is a cereal grain and the first of the seven species harvested after winter. Barley was an essential Israelite staple for making bread and porridge. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, barley was used in the production of beer, though little evidence has been found for beer drinking among the Israelites.