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The jewel of autumn

Over 8,000 years ago, the pomegranate became one of the first cultivated fruits. During its history, pomegranates have been symbols of prosperity, hope, and abundance in every part of the world. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. It is one of the most flavorful fall fruits, while also being high in antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, and a great source of fiber.

The glistening red jewels inside, called arils, are full of nutritious sweet-tart juice surrounding a small white crunchy seed. You can eat the whole arils including the fiber-rich seeds, or spit out the seeds if you prefer.

You can eat the fresh arils, juice them, and cook with them, just like any other fruit. They also are used for traditional decorations or centerpieces during the holidays so they are a feast for the eyes, as well.

Those looking to pick up a few pomegranates this season can find it right off the tree at Riverdance Farms in Livingston. The organic farm located off the Merced River is known for its you-pick blueberry and cherry fields, but in late fall pomegranates are the main draw.

"It's something for the different season," said Cindy Lashbrook, owner of Riverdance Farms, about planting pomegranate trees. "They are low water use and have high adaptability for this climate. We have a couple of regulars who come out every year for the pomegranates and make jam and jelly."

Riverdance also has Fuyu persimmons and pecans available in late fall for picking. Lashbrook recommends bringing a picnic lunch and spending the day by the river when coming out to the farm to pick pomegranates and persimmons.

You pick at Riverdance Farms is by appointment only. Call (209) 761-0081 to make an appointment. For more information, visit