Yesterday I went to visit another grower and packer in Negev. Their brand name is not well-known on the markets yet, since it’s only their 3rd year on their own. Prior to taking the independent route, the company was working on contracts to Agrexco and Ada Fresh, and still supplies them today from time to time.
The operation is put on a large scale, compared to our local standards: the company grows either on their own or in cooperation with other farmers several varieties of tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, capsicums, aubergines, cucumbers and other crops. This enables to build mixed produce containers already at the packing house in Israel, thus freeing the importer from necessity to keep large stocks of produce and always to have fresh produce available.
Since their current export is both to Western and Eastern Europe, they provide each market with their prefered size, appearance and packing of large and cherry tomatoes: cherry in small punnets for Russian market and in bulk for Netherlands, tomatoes on vine for Russia and on and off the vine for Europe.
So far so good – but nothing exceptional. Until they’ve introduced me to their new developments. First, is a new start for aubergine export to Russia. This export was discontinued about 5 years ago and is restarting this season. In order for aubergines to arrive in perfect condition to Moscow and other markets, a new way of packing has been introduced: the vegetables are packed in 2 rows in Xtend bags, with heavier ones placed on bottom and using a paper divider between them. The product is so new that in the meantime it’s shipped in plain white carton boxes, while European prices and aubergine availability (or lack of) support the growing popularity of Israeli aubergine. On the photo is produce intended for local market.
Another new product that the company is currently working on is a new variety of cucumber. Currently, all cucumbers grown in Israel are visually different from those grown in Europe, and more important, don’t survive well transportation to Europe. Hopefully, in couple of months we will have in hands a cucumber that is able to withstand transit times to Moscow and Russia’s remote regions and look like the cucumbers the people there like to see: relatively fat and with pimples.
Quality of all exported produce conforms to GlobalGAP standard and new products won’t be an exception.
To sum up, we have a relatively new packer yet experienced grower than seems to find it’s own special niche.