Harsh winter storms have damaged crops in Israel to the tune of $5.5 million, according to Meir Ifrah, CEO of the Vegetable Growers Association.
The recent drought had already damaged local produce. See our post on Israel’s shriveled vegetables here. Prices are close to double what they were last year at this time. Growing your own vegetables makes more and more sense.
In a gloomy forecast that predicts scanty – and more expensive – produce in the coming months, Ifrah says that raging winds ripped 900 dunams (99 acres) of tunnel greenhouses apart, exposing vegetables to freezing rain and wind in hilly regions, and to wind-driven sand in the Negev. Damage to crops will affect local prices and diminish exports to Europe.
“There is no doubt that the produce might not be good enough for export, because plant diseases and quality damage will occur,” says Ifrah.
Growing even one small crop of cherry tomatoes or spinach in a windowsill can make a difference to your food budget. Herbs like mint and parsley are easy to raise and don’t take up much room. And if your neighbors have more gardening room than you, ask if they’re willing to do a little co-op vegetable plot, sharing the work and the harvest. When prices for your favorite tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants shoot up, you’ll be glad you put the work in.
More on growing your own in the Middle East from Green Prophet:
Photo of pumpkins and gourds in Safed shouk by Miriam Kresh.
Miriam also writes a food blog.