Jewish farmer from Rishon Lezion pruning an orange tree 390.
(photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)
Despite the wintery weather, grocery shoppers in Europe and North America today
will find fresh fruit and vegetables from Israel on their shelves. And not just
the delicious tomatoes and cucumbers. Exotic Israeli agricultural products are
also on sale, such as pitayas, a cactus fruit; lychees and kiwis; yellow cherry
tomatoes; miniature water melons; purple potatoes; star-shaped zucchinis; blue
bananas, and many more.
But the king of the exports is still the Jaffa orange, also known as
the Shamouti orange. The Jaffa orange today also has competition from oranges
grown in places like Spain and Morocco.
Arab farmers in Palestine
developed this sweet orange in the 1800s.
With the arrival of steam
ships, the oranges were exported from Jaffa's port, thus the origin of the
Citrus plantations were established by
wealthy Arab landholders, and early Zionist farmers also planted citrus groves
on the tracts of land they purchased.
The American Colony photographers preserved
pictures of the Arab and Jewish groves, the packing, export, and production of
orange products. They also photographed the cooperation of Arab and Jewish
workers in the 1930s.
During the Arab revolt (1936-1939), Arab workers closed the Jaffa port with a
lengthy strike. The new Tel Aviv port handled the import of lumber for orange
crates and then the export of the oranges themselves.
More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com