JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s apple harvest has been severely damaged by extreme heat.
Nearly 2,500 acres of orchards were damaged in Israel’s Galilee and Golan during an intense heat wave last week, apple growers reported. The damaged fruit amounts to about 20 percent of Israel’s apple production, according to Haaretz.
"The apples were baked on the trees,” Gabi Coneal, head of the fruit branch at Kibbutz Marom Golan, told the Jerusalem Post. “The damage is nothing less than catastrophic.”
Red Top Apples, which are unique to the region and are a favorite on Israelis’ Rosh Hashanah dinner tables, were nearly all spoiled, according to the Post. Apples that survived the heat are expected to have a shorter life expectancy in storage.
A record harvest due to the relatively warm winter season had been expected, according to reports; now damage estimates are in the millions.
Israeli farmers produce about 110,000 tons of apples per year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Another 2,000 tons of apples are imported each year from the United States and Europe.