Small-scale farmers in Israel's Negev desert were growing olives using brackish salt water, discovering drought-resistant species of plants well-suited to a harsh climate and were building a cutting edge, gourmet and eco-conscious foodshed. In 2009, I met with innovative farmers and helped launch Negev Nectars, a company that imported the highest quality products from the region and distributed them in the US. Whether unique blends of extra virgin olive oil, Souri olives, medjool dates, piquant chutneys, or jams or teas, each product told a food producer's story and the land's story. Negev Nectars distributed its products straight to consumers, and also distributed to select restaurants, including Mike Solomonov's acclaimed Zahav in Philadelphia. A real highlight was representing these growers and producers at the World Bank in Washington, DC in 2010.
* Photo by Sophie Barbasch