Strawberry Fields Forever

Those visiting Israel from abroad might be pleasantly surprised to hear that winter
is….strawberry season! *cue fireworks* *cue music* *cue parade* *cue me buying
every strawberry in sight*. 

Ok, now that we’ve calmed down a little, let’s talk Israeli strawberries. Israel’s relatively
long growing season make strawberries a lucrative crop for sale not only domestically,
but abroad to places like Europe. So why a winter fruit? The type of strawberries grown in Israeli soil require fewer hours of daylight and cooler temperatures, so the hot summers with strong sunlight are not ideal.

In recent years, competitive strawberry prices from other countries such as Morocco have caused Israel’s strawberry export business to take a significant hit. Luckily, the technologically obsessed Start-Up nation has some solutions for best strawberry practices.

Our favorite food tech, mostly because it is the one we eat most of on tours, is called BioBee. Simply put, it uses good bees to keep away bad bugs, meaning less pesticides. Meaning our mouths can get even quicker to the strawberries we buy fresh in the market. Phew. 

Another biggie, several years ago, agricultural scientists at Kibbutz Merom Golan started developing a unique strawberry crop that in several years, if all goes according to plan, will grow all-year round!

Until that crop becomes strong enough to yield literal "Strawberry Fields Forever", we’ll have to make due with their season appearance in December. Israelis embrace this ephemeral nature by making the most out of their winter strawberry months. At any major Israeli food market, you’ll find tables devoted only to purveying baskets upon baskets of strawberries. They are placed atop cheesecakes, and added to savory Israeli salads to add a sweet angle to the dish.

If you’re in the mood for some seriously high-end strawberry indulgence, pick up a fresh box from the Shuk (but make sure to get them already in the box, the ones by the kilo they usually pick from the less great ones), top them with some fresh whipped cream (mmmm), or head to gourmet restaurant Messa for their signature dessert featuring copious amounts of the fruit.

 Photo Credit: Sarit Goffen

Photo Credit: Sarit Goffen

 

Messa is located on Ha’Arba Street, Tel Aviv, Phone 053-9418828