Israel is known for its remarkable advances in agriculture that have brought new and exotic varieties of hybrid fruits and vegetables to the international market. Here is an appetizing sampling of some of the best produce to come out of blue-and-white innovation:
1) The Galia melon, a development of the government funded Volcani Agricultural Research Organization, first made an impact in foreign markets in 1974 and continues to entice new customers with its green color and sweet smell. Offshoots of the Galia have also gained worldwide popularity.
2) The Orangetti spaghetti squash, a Volcani development and the first hybrid Israeli vegetable grown in the United States, brightens the marketplace with its intense orange color. It is better tasting than its pale yellow counterpart and richer in beta-carotene.
3) Ben Dor Fruits & Nurseries is known for its “pomelit” grapefruit-pomelo (pummelo) hybrid fruit. Marketed internationally as Sweetie, the pomelit is sweeter and less acidic than a grapefruit, easier to peel than a pomelo and lowers blood cholesterol. Ben Dor also breeds a heart-shaped nectarine-mango and hybrid fruits such as the plumgranate (a pomegranate-colored plum), the lemon-shaped lamoon plum and the pita peach.
4) The Table Sugar acorn squash was first marketed by Volcani in 2007 and is widely popular. It has twice the sugar content of common acorn squash and a black-green skin that extends its shelf life and enhances its roasted chestnut flavor.
5) The Anna apple, another Volcani development, is a Golden Delicious style apple that doesn’t require freezing winter temperatures to thrive. The Anna grows in hot climates such as Egypt and southern California and ripens in the early summer.
6) The Goldy zucchini squash, developed by Volcani in 1983, is still a favorite in major foreign markets. Bright yellow in color, it goes well in baked quiches or as fried slices, like eggplant.
7) Angello, developed by Zeraim Gedera and winner of the 2012 Fruit Logistica Innovation Award, is the world’s first seedless bell pepper. It is grown only in Israel and Spain.
8) The Black Galaxy tomato was developed by Technological Seeds DM and introduced to international markets in 2012. It contains a pigment derivative of blueberries for its dark hue and highly concentrated Vitamin C.
9) The BomTom vegetable breeding and research group at the Hebrew University is behind major advances in tomatoes such as the Truss tomatoes common in Israel, North America, Europe and Japan as well as the sweet and long lasting cherry tomatoes that have become a worldwide standard.