The Agricultural Ministry will, for the fourth year in a row, be a sponsor of the President's Sukkah, the sukkah that serves Shimon Peres at his Jerusalem residence. This year, the Ministry has a surprise for the thousands of visitors expected at the Sukkah: The world's largest date, grown in Israel, will be on display.
The date is the largest of the largest breed of dates, the “Anerba date,” which was first planted in Israel seven years ago; those trees are bearing fruit for the first time this year. The breed grows in other places in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, but through selective breeding and modern agricultural methods, Israeli growers have gotten the Anerbas to grow to even greater proportions.
The trees are being grown as part of an experiment, being conducted in the Jordan Valley. Farmers are applying various growing technologies to the trees in order to grow the fruit to as large a proportion as possible, while retaining the taste and texture consumers expect.
The average Anerba is 8 centimeters in diameter, while the most popular type of date, Majhoul, achieves a full-grown circumference of 7.6 centimeters. However, the Anerba dates can reach up to 10 centimeters in diameter.
Also on display in the Sukkah will be a dazzling display of flowers, including a collection of orchids grown in Israel and exported abroad. Israel is one of the leading exporters of cut flowers to Europe.
The Sukkah will be open to anyone who wishes to visit on September 24, during Hol Hamo'ed Sukkot. Educational and fun programs for kids and adults will take place, with the activities organized along the theme of living more healthfully, a spokesperson for Peres' office said.