Farming in the Negev

I’ve always told friends that Israel is an industrious nation … forward thinking, tough and resilient, immensely hard-working. So, on our first morning here, what did we do? We went out into the fields and got working. Up early before the sun gets too fierce (and we thought Tuscany was hot!), the task of the day was to plant avocado saplings. Rows and rows of holes had already been dug the day before, so it was a case of slicing a ring around the base of the plastic, pulling off the casing, popping the sapling into the hole, filling and patting down the soil. Eezy-peezy.


The A—Z of planting avocado saplings: cut the plastic; drop plant into the hole;
pull off the plastic sheath; observe your good work after filling with soil

Okay, full disclosure. The Thailandi workers did most of the hard graft (a lot of Israel’s farming community makes use of contract labour from Thailand). Hirsh and I made a symbolic gesture of each planting a tree and then we escaped for breakfast. We are on holiday, after all.


A Thailandi hammers in the supporting stake. Can you believe this fertile-looking,
prolific fruit-producing scene in the hot, barren, dessicated Negev desert?

This Moshav is amazingly prolific: following the seasons it produces all types of citrus, including the hugest, sweetest, most luscious pomelo (I dream of these at home), mangos, avocados, bell peppers, tomatoes, and even the greenery for flower arrangements. Just as I said. An industrious nation.

To be of the Earth is to know
the restlessness of being a seed,
The darkness of being planted,
The struggle toward the light,
… the joy of bursting and bearing fruit …

— poet John Soos (in Earth Prayers from around the World)