Pinchbeck flower grower visits Israel

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Last week I travelled to Israel to view new products being grown which may be of interest to us, writes Sue Lamb.

Never having been there before, I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously it was much warmer than here, a pleasant 17-18oC in the day, going down to below 10oC at night. In the summer, temperatures exceed 50oC and therefore restricts what they can produce.

The crops looked good, both under plastic and outside. Like here, their locals don’t want to work in horticulture so their workforce comes from Thailand. They travel on a visa system and are allowed to stay up to five years. Product is either grown for the home market or exported to Holland to be sold via the auction system. Everything is collated and all administration is carried out by the exporter and all parties seem happy with the arrangement. But like here, their number of growers is on the decrease, which I think is a world problem. The number of growers shrinks but the amount produced by each farm/nursery increases and margins get tighter per stem.

We were there as guests of Danziger, a breeding and propagating company striving for floriculture innovation via a young and enthusiastic team. They continually look for new products; once a country growing predominately roses and chrysanthemums, this has largely moved to South America and Africa and they concentrate on a variety of crops including Gypsophila, of which we saw a new green flowering variety, Ranunculi, Veronica, Limonium, Solidago plus a new multi-coloured Scabious.

Tel Aviv, the little we saw of it, was a very exciting place to visit, very modern, very clean and actually we felt very safe. But landing back at Luton airport early hours of the morning with snow on the ground and plenty of traffic on the road, it was unmistakable we were back in the UK as we had no phone signal!