Friday, June 04, 2010

Exotic Fruit in Israel

Israel Plows New Ground in Exotic Crops -Edmund Sanders

Want a lemon-scented tomato or a chocolate-colored persimmon? How about some miniaturized garlic cloves for the home chef who doesn't have time to chop, or a purple potato that tastes buttery when cooked?

On Israeli farms you will find carrots shaped like potatoes, strawberries shaped like carrots, star-shaped zucchini and "watermelon" tomatoes - dark green on the outside with a juicy red flesh. There are also specially bred red peppers with three times the usual amount of vitamins, and black chickpeas with extra antioxidants. Not to mention worm-shaped berries and blue bananas.

An Israeli tomato breeder, Hazera Genetics, has created a boutique crop worth more than its weight in gold. It developed a yellow cherry tomato that became a hit in Europe, where the seeds sell for about $160,000 a pound. "Israelis are a naturally curious people," said Avi Almogi, head of Israel's Exotic Fruit Association, standing beside a display of fuzzless peaches. "We take fruits, even things that may not be from here, and we play with them to make them better."
(Los Angeles Times)

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