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February 24, 2022

Agritourism Israel

Agritourism Israel

Agritourism involves a fascinating array of choices that all come down to one basic concept: People are interested in learning about how their food is produced. They want to get up close and personal with farmers and discuss what goes into their food.

Cherry Tomatoes Exhibited at Israel Agricultural Fair

Cherry Tomatoes Exhibited at Agricultural Fair (Photo: udi Steinwell, CC BY 2.5)

For some tourists, an agritour may be the first time they get to pick an apple straight from the tree, see a dairy cow, or touch the tassels on an ear of corn growing in an endless field of maize. Agritourism may even be about farm atmosphere: staying at a bed and breakfast that happens to be located on a farm. For the farmer, agritourism is way to draw traffic to farm operations and develop public interest in farm products.

Israel Agritourism: Sunflowers in the Golan Heights

Sunflowers in the Golan Heights (Photo: סאלם נסאר, CC BY 2.5)

Israel Agriculture

Agritourists wanting a completely different geographic experience can check out the Yair Research Station established in 1991 in the Arava Valley.  Located below the Dead Sea on the way to Eilat, the station’s purpose is to learn more about the special environmental conditions of this region; a challenging proposition where wild daily temperature fluctuations are combined with low humidity. Here, sheltered systems in the form of greenhouses have been invaluable for growing crops and knowledge gleaned from the Arava agricultural community is being shared by the research station.

Visitors to the research station will be surprised by some outlandish specimens: long skinny peppers, zebra-striped tomatoes, and watermelons that grow on trees! Tours are not held on a regular basis, but the research station does hold an open house in January as well as seminars throughout the year. It’s worth contacting the station to see what activities are currently underway. Phone: 972-8-658-1653 Fax: 972-8-658-1235.

Israel Agriculture: Nursery in Moshav Tsofit

Nursery in Moshav Tsofit (Photo: ארכיון מושב צופית, CC BY 2.5)

Israel’s National Water Carrier

As a small country with a population of only 7.6 million, Israel’s main agricultural goal has been to grow sufficient food to feed its populace without imports. Each year, Israel gets closer to this goal even though the country is still half-desert; the key to this success is water supply management. While the annual Israeli rainfall is 28 inches in the northern part of the country, the south is lucky to get 2 inches of rain.

Israel’s national water carrier, Mekorot, was founded in 1937. Its infrastructure, including an intricate network of tunnels, conduits, pipes, 659 pumping stations, and 3000 water plants, assists this world leader in effective water management.  Water flows seamlessly from the Sea of Galilee at the northern part of the country to the drought-affected center and south.

Major developments in conjunction with the crucial delivery of water from the national water carrier continue to be an essential part of Israel’s agricultural success. Modern drip irrigation, now used worldwide, was developed in Israel to make literally every drop count, turning arid parts of the country into a green oasis. Israeli scientists are working on a way to tap into huge deposits of underground water dating back to the Ice Age, a potential vast new water resource for Israel awaiting Israeli ingenuity.

Agriculture Tour

Touring a kibbutz is an excellent way to learn about both the challenges and triumphs of Israeli agriculture. Check out Kibbutz Ortal, in the Golan Heights, and take a guided tour of one of the largest computerized dairies in the Middle East. During the summer months, guided tours can be arranged to various orchards producing wine grapes, cherries, apples, peaches, nectarines, and flowers. Phone: 972-4-6960808. Fax: 972-4-6960784.

Next stop is the Golan Heights Winery, located 2 kilometers from Katzrin. Launched in 1984, this winery has won high marks at important international wine exhibitions. The visitors’ center is decorated with gold medals, certificates, and other awards that would do any winery proud, not to mention one that is only 28 years old. Blessed with volcanic soil that provides excellent drainage, a long cool growing season, and of course, drip irrigation for the summer months, the winery has all it needs to produce topnotch wines.

The winery offers individual and group tours which include an informational introduction, short film, and a visit to the winery’s oak barrel cellar. View the bottling line and taste some amazing wines. Phone: 972-4-6968409, 972-4-6968435 Fax: 972-4-6962220, 972-4-6964004

Agritourism: Did You Know?

Sixty percent of Israel’s exported fresh vegetables are produced in the Arava region and the major exported vegetable is the pepper.