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Local Pomegranates?

In Wisconsin, not likely.  Not the full sized ones anyways.

© Melinda Nagy | Dreamstime.com

As I try to incorporate a “locavore” mentality into my grocery shopping, I do still try to keep my health and tastebuds in mind.  What is the most important thing to me when I can’t find something I want via a local source?……making sure I understand where it comes from!

At my local grocery store….which, I would like to add, is family owned and operated and is competing quite nicely against the big “W” and one other national chain store…..whew, ok, back to the story…..at my local grocery store, pomegranates were on sale.  Because they keep for so long (more on this in a future post), I decided to buy a couple.

My mom is a produce manager back in my hometown area, so I get the low-down on any upcoming produce shortages and changes in regulations.  Did you know that all fresh produce needs to be clearly marked with its origin for the consumers?  I did.  Therefore, I knew I could find out right then and there, in the produce aisle, where my pomegranates came from.

However, that wasn’t enough….just knowing it was from California didn’t satisfy my urge to know more.  I wanted to know where in Cali, how it was grown, and on and on.

In doing a little net surfing, I learned that there are about 250 pomegranate growers in California supplying almost all of our US pomegranate purchasing needs.  These growers use approximately 14,000 acres to grow the supply and most of the acres are located in the central and southern San Joaquin Valley [data sourced from the California Farm Bureau website referencing the San Francisco based Pomegranate Council].

Pomegranates are in season/harvested from October through January in California.

This got me to thinking.  How does the pomegranate grow and could I grow it here in Wisconsin myself?  I learned that the pomegranate grows on a large bush/tree and prefers warm weather (pomegranates originate from the Middle East and they grow best in areas where the temperature do not dip below 40 degrees). 

© Elad Nussbaum | Dreamstime.com

Wisconsin does not fit the bill.

HOWEVER, upon further research, I discovered a variety of pomegranates that can be grown in a container.  Therefore, during the winter when Wisconsin hits that low average February temperature of just barely twenty degrees, my pomegranate tree will be safely indoors.

What type of pomegranate you ask?  A dwarf pom, of course!  It is a type of bonsai plant.  Pretty much everything is the same as its full sized counterpart, but the tree and fruit is just smaller in scale.

I will be on a quest someday soon to purchase a dwarf pom tree……..now, to find a cute container to grow it in!

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