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Self-Drying Cherry Tomatoes

Defying War’s Wreckage, Self-Drying Cherry Tomatoes Ripen Near Gaza

The first plants of a new cherry tomato species that self-dries naturally were planted in September 2023 at greenhouses in Netiv Ha’asara, in the agricultural heartland of southern Israel and one of the best places to grow tomatoes, on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The first orders of the fruit, developed by an Israeli genomics company, were supposed to be shipped at the start of 2024. Then, on October 7, Hamas terrorists burst into southern Israel from Gaza, killing close to 1,200 people and abducting 253 hostages. The greenhouses were wrecked, the plants were ruined, and the Thai agricultural workers fled. “Everything was destroyed,” said Gil Ronen, the founder and CEO of NRGene, which uses algorithms to map out the genetic makeup of plants to increase their yields and resilience.

But even before October was over, the work restarted and the first fruits of the newly planted vines have just been picked, with deliveries starting in the coming months.

These cherry tomatoes come with a twist: instead of being pleasingly plump, they look wrinkled, more like a raisin or a dried cranberry. That is because they have self-dried naturally on the vine, offering a burst of sweet and sour flavor to the palate with four times the juiciness of sun-dried tomatoes, the founder says.

“The product is completely natural, it didn’t undergo genetic engineering, nor gene editing,” said Ronen. The self-drying feature is a completely natural characteristic of wild tomatoes that originally grew in South America, he explained and added that “after they ripen, wild tomatoes dry up so as not to rot too quickly.” (TOI / VFI News)

“You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” - Psalm 128:2

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