Desert plants have adapted to very challenging conditions. These plants may endure high levels of radiation, high temperatures, salinity, and increased transpiration due to dryness of the air.
Desert plants have developed many strategies to deal with these challenges. Some plants can change their leaf size and design to conserve water during droughts. Other plants can shed leaves or branches at need, estivate or change their pigmentation when conditions are difficult. By far the most common effect of the desert's harsh conditions is an increase in protective chemical compounds within the plant, especially polyphenols. This gives desert plants a unique intensity of medicinal properties.
Click here for more information about Merkache haAretz.
Merkache haAretz is a small family farm on a collective farming community in southern Israel. David inherited the family Holstein dairy farm which also grew apples, nectarines, peaches and artichokes. In 1988, he met and married Colleen who came to Israel as a lab technician from Canada. They now have six wonderful children, two of which are still at home.
In 2007, they decided to seek out alternatives to conventional farming practices and discovered the world of essential oils and aromatherapy. With a new vision, the dairy herd was sold which began their 'long trek' of discovering Israeli desert plants and their healing properties. Including the adoption of "no-spray" farming methods, all Merkache haAretz products adhere to the highest traditional standards of growing and production. Many of the methods of growing the ancient plants, harvesting techniques, traditional methods of production, and their medicinal uses have been forgotten. So the last several years have been a time of rediscovery, learning, experimenting and standing in awe of the outstanding resources at their finger tips.
Numerous varieties of desert plants now grow on their farm. Other farms in their community and in the southern desert region also cooperate with David and Colleen. Products include argan, milk thistle, pomegranate, black cumin, desert herbs and other native plants. All of their products come from naturally grown, domesticated desert plants and small family tree orchards.