A Chilean Study Tour Starring the Israeli Pine Nut.
(photo credit: KKL)
A Chilean Study Tour Starring the Israeli Pine Nut
Little did Chilenean forester Veronica Loewe know that when she began searching for her family roots, she would also find help with another type of roots close to her heart: planting and raising the Pinus pinea—commonly known as the stone pine tree—to give farmers in her country another crop option.
In 1939, Loewe’s grandfather escaped from Nazi Germany with his family to Chile while his sister came to Israel. Though there had been some contact between the two siblings, it was eventually lost through distance and time. Two years ago, Loewe’s brother began a genealogical search and they were able to track down their cousins in Israel with whom they began corresponding via the internet.
At the same time, Loewe, who is chief of projects at the Chile Ministry of Agriculture’s research Forest Institute, INFOR, and has been researching the Pinus pinea for 20 years, began seeking out Mediterranean stands of the tree. It is from this tree that the much coveted pine nut, which is used heavily in Mediterranean cooking and has become popular in many kitchens worldwide in recent years, is harvested.
Having already visited the principle pine nut producing countries, INFOR researchers discovered that Israel had some 2000 hectares of the Pinus pinea trees growing in arid conditions similar to those in parts of Chile which they had not been able to study in the other countries.
During a conversation with her cousin, Dan Ben Yehuda from the southern city of Omer, Loewe mentioned her desire to come to Israel to learn more about how the trees are grown here. He immediately suggested they contact the KKL-JNF forestry experts for help.