Strawberry Farms in Israel

November 02, 2017

Strawberry1

Photographer: Nili Yogev (Davidson) 
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

BottomThe photo above at top shows a strawberry farm adjacent to the photographer’s home in Kadima, (Sharon Region) Israel. In late August, commercial strawberry producers begin preparing their land for a new planting, as shown in the photo at left, taken on August 27, 2017. By improving strawberry varieties and cultivation methods, the growing season in Israel now starts in mid-November and extends until early spring, when harvesting begins. Preparing the soil well before planting greatly improves the plant's performance and promotes healthy and vigorous growth.

The strawberry arrived in Israel in the 1960s from California. Even though strawberry plants are perennials, the majority of growers manage them as annuals. Most of the strawberries grown in Israel are a hybrid species of the genus Fragaria, family Rosaceae. Currently, about 95 percent of Israel's strawberry production goes to the domestic market and about 5 percent is sent to Europe.

Note that growing strawberries in raised beds (bottom photo) has several benefits. Generally, the soil is first covered by black plastic which discourages weed growth and keeps the fruit clean from soil particles. Drip irrigation placed along the plant rows provides moisture to the soil but keeps the fruit dry, helping to prevent rot. Plastic covers placed over the raised beds during the winter season not only protects the plants from freezing temperatures at night but also minimizes damage from strong winds, storms and hail. However, these covers can be raised on sunny days.