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Strawberry growth in Israel

The Sharon district in the middle of the country is known for its vast citrus groves and strawberry fields. Located in the Moshav of Ramot Hashavim (near Hod Hasharon), Yosef’s Farm is known for its cultivation of new varieties of strawberries.

The company was founded by Shalom Yosef, a Yemeni Jew, who was one of many Jewish emigrants to Israel in the late 1940’s. Working as a day laborer in the small village of Magdiel, Yosef gained experience in farming. Eventually, he became an independent farmer, and in 1970 began growing strawberries on a large scale. During this time, Israeli strawberries made their way onto the international market.

Today, the company specializes in new varieties, including the the Rotem and Shaked strawberries, known for their quick growth and early ripening. New methods are being developed to reduce the use of pesticides. One innovation has been the introduction of ‘good insects’ into the growth area, allowing them to destroy harmful pests.

In Kibbutz Merom Golan, located in the Golan Heights, strawberry cultivation has been extended into the summer months. Normally, strawberries are a winter fruit, and are among the most popular of all Israeli fruits. Strawberries require cool temperatures and few hours of daylight. The Golan’s climate is ideally suited for strawberry growth, as the area is cooler than most parts of Israel.

One of the conditions necessary for ideal strawberry cultivation is shelter from the wind, so one will often see large fields under plastic wrap or shelter-belts. Until the 1960’s, strawberries came to market in March. With modern techniques, strawberries are planted in October and are available by mid-December.

Palestinian and Gazan farmers have come to Israel to learn about the new techniques and cultivation of new varieties of strawberries. Tours have been organized by Israel’s Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria to facilitate collaborative programs between Israeli and Palestinian farmers.


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