Inspiration From Israel

Inspiration From Israel

Millions of our modern plants originate as cuttings in an ancient land–Israel. Because of their desert climate, Israeli horticultural producers are among the most efficient in the world. In November, Agrexco, which represents a number of cuttings propagators hosted a group of growers and brokers. They shared their observations and experiences with us.

“Anyone who can turn a wasteland into an oasis has my attention,” says grower Dave Eastburn of Gro ‘N Sell in Chalfont, Pa. “In America, so many of our resources come naturally and we too easily take for granted the abundances of our land. In Israel, you see how little can be turned into a supplier to the world in agriculture, technology, medicine and survival, to name a few. The innovations that originate here give me ideas to integrate into my business.”

In addition to Eastburn, the group included Marty and Candi Gerace from Welby Gardens in Colorado; Joe Simone and Jeff Nameth from Fred C. Gloeckner & Co.; Vaughn Fletcher and Scott Crownover from McHutchison; and Steve Blacksmith, Karen Bunting and Daryl Bottenhagen of Ball Horticultural Co.

Agrexco is an import/export company headquartered in Tel Aviv. It manages logistics, marketing, accounting and other administrative tasks for the growers it represents. In addition to unrooted cuttings, there are growers who produce greenhouse vegetables, fresh cut flowers and blooming potted plants. U.S. growers typically visit with Agrexco operations during the California Pack Trials each April at Pacific Plug & Liner in Watsonville, Calif.

Family-Owned Operations

Just like in the United States, the growers in the Agrexco group are family-owned operations but highly specialized.

Cohen Nurseries, which is known for vegetative annuals, produces 150 million cuttings in just over 1 million square feet of greenhouses. The tour group saw the trial gardens with new varieties, the laboratory, renovated offices and state-of-the-art greenhouses in Nir Chen and Kfar Hanagid.

“For Cohen, we’re the number one broker in North America,” says Ball’s Blacksmith. “The company takes sanitation very seriously and is very meticulous in how it handles and produces the product. You can see it carries all the way through to middle management and the hourly people. Everyone is well trained and disciplined when entering the greenhouse.”

Cohen’s facilities are state-of-the-art, he adds. “Their yields are exceptional due to high light. They also do an exceptional job collecting rain water and recycling runoff. They fill their reservoir three times in the winter, which helps supplement the water they pull from an outside system.”

In addition to producing unrooted cuttings for its own sales, Cohen manages stock for breeders worldwide. “We just moved all our Suntory production to Cohen,” Blacksmith says. “We also have an exclusive arrangement with Cohen to produce the Super Cal petunias bred by Sakata from private stock. We’ve got quite a few products with Cohen.”

None of the cuttings producers overlap production in the Agrexco group. They are all complimentary offerings.

Hishtil Nurseries, which is considered the largest young plant producer in Israel, provides the world with unrooted herb and perennial cuttings and caters to the local market. The tour group visited Hishtil’s facilities in Afula and Nechalim.

Jaldety Nurseries in Kfar Hanagid offers boutique, niche items and specializes in basket/bedding annuals and perennial cuttings. Schwartz Nursery in Ein-Habsor is a respected geranium cutting supplier featuring Endisch genetics.

The group also got to see Agrexco’s sea transit operation and walk on the high-tech vessel, Biotop. They also visited key bulb producers, Asa Flowers and Saad Asaf, as well as bare-root producer, Hochberg Nurseries.

McHutchison’s Fletcher says he was impressed with how efficient the packaging and transport system was to the seaport in Tel Aviv for ocean freight shipping and packing terminal for air shipment. “I also was impressed by the beauty of Jerusalem with its hilly country, trees and of course, the holy sites!” he says.

While in Israel, the group got to see the most significant tourist and religious pilgrimage attractions in Jerusalem, Masada, Nazareth, Galilee and The Dead Sea.

Nothing To Fear

Simone at Gloeckner highly recommends this trip to growers. “Absolutely,” he says. “The security and safety issues were never a factor, as we were in the very good care of Agrexco people throughout the trip.”

Nameth, who traveled with Simone, says his wife was very concerned about him traveling to the Middle East, but he found there was nothing to fear. “There is no fear factor at all,” he says. “It’s a non-issue. I got wanded when I went into the shopping mall, but they do it to everybody. Safety was the least of our worries.”

One of the hosts, Fred Cohen of Agrexco says, “Agrexco tries to make it as enjoyable as possible for clients and hopes they experience not only an informative time with our growers but get a taste, (let’s not forget the food!) of the culture of the land, as well. Meals are enjoyed as a group together with a member of Agrexco, our growers or a combination thereof.”

Blacksmith, who has been to Israel six times since 1997, says it is his favorite international trip. “The food, people, hospitality, history and diversity are exceptional. The Israelis are aware of the apprehension growers may have visiting for the first time. That’s why their hospitality goes beyond exceptional. They’re proud of their business and proud of their country.”

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Inspiration From Israel

  1. Dear Sir, We have been in farming business since last 70 to 80 years. Looking at your website we want to develop Green-house in 1 acre land on trial base through your company. At the same time we are also interested to take the dealership of your company for development of Green-house in Patan as well as other district. For that we are ready to offer you our land for demonstration of your product. Just now the government of India is offering 50% subsidy on development of Green House to farmer. On this scheme we & your company can enhance there business. Regards Jayanti J. Patel MANN CONSULTANCY S-8 VRUNDAVAN ARCADE OPP. BAGESHWER MAHADEV STATION ROAD, PATAN-384265 M – +91 7567103030 P – 02766 233021

Latest Stories
Janeen Wright

May 5, 2016

You Can’t Take Small Business Out Of The Big Greenhouse…

Big growers who stay true to their small-business roots don’t lose sight of the personal touch in business.

Read More
Mum With and Without Ammonium Toxicity

May 5, 2016

How Nitrogen Influences The pH Of Your Growing Medium

In standard greenhouse fertilizers, nitrogen is supplied as ammonium, nitrate, or urea. Each of these three nitrogen sources, when taken up by plant roots, produces different chemical reactions with differing effects on the growing medium pH.

Read More
As the pots continue around the carousel, bark is pushed into the pots and settles around the roots, which helps to avoid compaction in the growing media

May 5, 2016

Three Factors That Can Impact The pH Of Growth Media

Water alkalinity, fertilizer, and plant species can each play a role in the pH of your growth media.

Read More
HV-100 Robots (Harvest Automation)

May 3, 2016

Harvest Automation Makes Strong Commitment To Greenhous…

The company recently announced it is selling off its robotic warehouse automation business to focus more on providing robotic materials handling to the greenhouse, vegetable, and fruit markets.

Read More

May 3, 2016

Migrant Farm Workers Moving Around Less Than In The Pas…

The number of farm workers who migrate and work on multiple farms during the growing season dropped from 55% in 1998 to 20% in 2009.

Read More
Wave Petunias Team

May 3, 2016

Hot Pink Wave-Rave Van Making Its Way To The Big Apple …

Imagine driving down the road, minding your own business, when you’re passed by two smiling, waving, happy women driving a hot-pink van that’s adorned with petunia and pansy flowers. That’s not something you see every day, but motorists in the Midwest and Northeast may catch a glimpse of the Wave-Rave van this week as Ball Horticultural Co.’s Claire Watson, Product Marketing Manager, and Katie Rotella, Marketing Communications Manager, make their way to a media tour and plant giveaway in New York City. Watson and Rotella visited Cleveland’s WOIO Channel 19 news on Tuesday morning to tell consumers about Wave Petunias and Wave Pansies, and remind them to visit their local garden centers to purchase gifts for Mother’s Day this weekend. Check out this clip on Periscope. After the morning news, the ladies stopped by to visit the Greenhouse Grower staff at Meister Media Worldwide in Willoughby, OH. Next stop: Chelsea Garden Center in Brooklyn, NY, where […]

Read More
National Garden Bureau CAST 2016 Bloggers

May 3, 2016

5 Things Gardens Bloggers And Writers Learned At Califo…

For the second year in a row, the National Garden Bureau hosted five popular garden bloggers and writers on a trip to California Spring Trials. Here’s what each of them had to say about their experience.

Read More

May 3, 2016

SNA’s Summer Tradeshow Is Revamped As SEGreen

SNA is hosting a new summer show, SE Green, in Athens, GA. It mixes a conference for Southeast-based landscapers, growers, and retailers, with exhibitors.

Read More

May 2, 2016

A Fire At A New Hampshire Garden Center Challenges Spri…

Petal Pushers Farm in Laconia, NH, suffered a two-alarm fire two weeks prior to Mother's Day Weekend. It is already back up and running, but is scrambling to replace its losses.

Read More

May 2, 2016

Surprise Customers With Over-The-Top Service This Mothe…

The day before Thanksgiving a few years ago, I reluctantly pulled into Central Market’s parking lot. Central Market is a popular, high-end Texas grocery store chain, the luxury brand for the middle-of-the-road HEB stores. As expected, the parking lot was packed. There wasn’t a space in the main part of the sizable lot, so I had to park some distance away. It wasn’t a promising start to what I fully expected to be an irritating afternoon. But I was making butternut squash soup and providing wine for the holiday dinner the next day, and so I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. I was doomed to endure the busiest shopping day of the year for grocery stores. I grabbed a mini double-decker cart, resigned to cranky crowds and jostling for space in the produce aisles. I walked in and paused to figure out where I could find the butternut squash. Almost instantly, an […]

Read More
Small Aphid Colony on Calibrachoa

May 2, 2016

How To Stop Aphids In The Greenhouse

When untreated, aphids damage ornamental crops and act as vectors for disease. Integrated Pest Management combined with vigilant scouting can help you stay ahead of the problem.

Read More
Priva FS Reader

May 2, 2016

What’s New In Greenhouse Environmental Controls

Growers today are looking for systems that save energy, are easy to use, and can be accessed remotely. New products from leading manufacturers are designed to tap into these needs.

Read More
PMA Floral Anaheim

May 1, 2016

Produce Marketing Association Plans Floral Supply Chain…

The PMA Fresh Connections: Floral events will unveil new market research and trends, while offering insights into the changing landscape of floral retailing.

Read More
Farwest Show Floor

April 30, 2016

Registration Is Open For Farwest 2016 In Portland, OR

This year’s show takes place Aug. 25-27 and features educational sessions, nursery and retail tours, and an expansive trade show floor.

Read More
Chick Charms

April 29, 2016

Kelly Norris: Why The Plant Collector Market Is Set To …

In his latest column for Greenhouse Grower magazine, Kelly Norris says there are more plant collectors out there than we think, which opens the way for the gift plant market to explode.

Read More
Natureworks Monarch life cycle caterpillar FEATURE

April 29, 2016

Do Customers Really Care How Plants Are Grown?

The consumer uprising against neonicotinoids has roiled the industry over the past couple of years. In June 2013, someone applied pesticide to a tree in full bloom, using the product in an off-label manner. That misapplication killed tens of thousands of bees, capturing the attention of activists. A short three years later, that activism has led to policy changes for big chains like The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Several cities and towns across the country have banned the sale of neonicotinoids, as has the state of Maryland. All of this made me curious. How was all the publicity affecting consumer attitudes at local garden stores? Traditionally, customers have shown little interest in how flowering plants are grown, other than they like the idea that they are from a local source. They have been much more particular about food plants than they have ornamentals. So I sent questions out to a […]

Read More
Pennisetum Fireworks

April 28, 2016

Why Ornamental Grasses Are Great For People In Condos A…

Allan Armitage says breeders need to do a better job of making growers, brokers, and garden centers aware of better ornamental grass cultivars for the increasingly shrinking garden space.

Read More

April 28, 2016

Holistic, Integrated Approach To Pest Control Rooted In…

Greenhouse growers have been practicing integrated pest management for decades, but it’s becoming increasingly more important with the continued scrutiny of conventional pest control by a number of “regulators” — government, retail, and consumers. I just returned from Meister Media Worldwide’s Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference, in Monterey, CA, at the beginning of March this year, which served 450 attendees and 50 exhibiting supplier companies. It’s clear from the presentations and the growing attendance at this specialized event — now only in its second year — that use of biocontrols in IPM will continue to be adopted widely, as more growers get past their personal hurdles of doubt and intimidation, and embrace a new way to approach pest and disease control. Many growers think of using biocontrols as an all-or-nothing approach, but ultimately, IPM is about balance. Growers will need to continue to focus on IPM, integrating chemistry with biology, because […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]