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"I had a pomegranate garden in Iran..."


By Jacqueline Mirsadeghi - During this winter, a terrible cold front swept over most of Iran and blanketed the country with severe sub-freezing temperatures for 18 days (from the 10th - 27th of January 2008). Such cold spell had not been seen there in over 40 years. As a result, many basic services such as natural gas supply, water and electricity were badly disrupted. Millions of people suffered from the immediate consequences, but there were also more long term consequences such as wide-spread damage to many types of fruit trees.


I returned to my pomegranate garden in Saveh this spring, to find that the beautiful trees were gone: in their place, short, thick bunches of young green shoots stood there, as if the garden had just been created, like dry land claimed from the desert! Also gone were a few olive trees I had planted some 8 years ago, as well as a full grown, lush fig tree. Gone were the huge laurel shrubs and the eucalyptus trees, even more sensitive to prolonged frost.



after the freeze


In most of Iran, thousands of acres of pomegranate trees were destroyed by the prolonged sub-freezing temperatures (anywhere from -12 C to -18 C = 10 F till  -2 F). Only Shiraz and the areas south of there were spared... Pomegranate trees have very deep roots; the frozen trunks (up to 3 or 4 per tree) had to be cut off, 20 cm down into the earth during March; by the end of April, 90% of the roots started to produce new shoots. The growers in the Saveh area estimate that it will take at least 3 years before a certain amount of fruits appear again on these young shrubs, that is an amount that can be called a harvest. And the  fruits will be smaller in size, until the trees grow up again, which will take at least 5 years and more.


before the freeze


In the meantime, costs such as irrigation and the maintenance of the trees will have to be absorbed without the presence of a harvest for at least the next 2 years to come. Let's just hope that the owners of these gardens will not be tempted to sell their land to the speculators for a short-term cash income.



The world-wide trend is towards re-discovering what the ancient generations knew quite well: the fabulous health benefits of the pomegranate! In the US and now in Europe also, many new pomegranate products are appearing on the market, from juices to health and beauty products; new books are being published on the subject. It is believed that the existing pomegranate production world-wide will not be able to absorb the demands of these relatively new and fast expanding markets. And this year and the next,  there will be over 600,000 tons of pomegranates missing on the Iranian market... I just hope that the garden owners realize the future potential of this wonderful fruit, especially the quality fruits that used to be exported from this renowned area of Iran.


To learn more on the pomegranate and its seasons, you will find interesting links when visiting the following site:


About the author: Born in 1962 in Izmir, Turkey, of French father and Dutch-German mother, Jacqueline Mirsadeghi grew up in Switzerland, married an Iranian in 1983. Lived in Iran for 14 years. She is the author of Pomegranate Garden

Pomegranate Garden (Narestan) can be ordered online

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