From Mother Stock to Quality Seedlings
|Tour of Hishtil Afula nurseries with Export Sales Manager Eyal Inbar|
|April 13, 2017|
Hishtil's Export Department is located at its Afula nurseries. It mostly produces vegetative herb cuttings and seedlings for export.
It is the largest vegetative herb grower in the world and the leading supplier to the European and US hobby markets.
It all starts with the Mother stock
Production begins with the mother stock where the cuttings, used to produce seedlings, are harvested.
Although the high season is nearly over, the luxuriant plant quality is impressive.
The hundreds of herb varieties exude an almost tangible fragrance.
They include mints – large mint, Spanish mint, orange, apple, strawberry and banana flavoured mint, orange thyme, thymus citriodorus and the olive scented Santolina viridis .
Appearance is almost as important as taste. Eyal showed us Hishtil's best-selling thyme, Faustinoi, which appears impressively full even in a small pot.
The pickers go from row to row, harvesting cuttings, and packing them in large bags displaying the picker's name, the date and variety.
Eyal says that the combination of vast experience, expertise and good regional weather facilitates plentiful, high quality produce throughout the year. Control of detail makes highest quality produce and high prices possible.
From Mother stock to rooting rooms – where the hormone free cuttings are aplanted on rooting trays.
Meticulous Q A – quality assurance is an integral part of each stage. All data are scrupulously logged so they can be traced in case complaints, thus forestalling future mishaps.
Trays rooted a few hours earlier are visible in the greenhouse adjacent to the rooting room and some unique plants can be seen:
Persicaria Rubra – a spicy salad plant.
Salicornia – salty and specialised; salt is injected into the plant to maintain salinity.
Sweet potato – Hishtil is one of three exclusive licence holders
barbecue packages. Eyal observes that this is just the beginning – first orders, great expectations...
Plants take about 30-45 days from cutting to being shipped worldwide.
R&D – the next advance
We meet Chief Agronomist, Vegetative Propagation Eyal Klainberger.
Mr. Kleinberger escribes Hishhtil's vast investment in seeking new varieties: 'We rooted 17 new varieties today of which only two or three will sell.'
The Organic Trend
Hishtil strives to remain in step with global trends for organic products, particularly with rosemary and mint.