Recommendation from Chef Philip McGrath

(המלצת השף בתחתית העמוד)

Doron Akiva, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

doron groveEzuz, Negev

Doron is the exclusive grower of the olives for Negev Nectars Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. He proudly farms land that has been farmed throughout history, since the time of David and Solomon. He irrigates his trees using the well from which, according to legend, the 12 Israelite spies drank on their way to scope out Canaan. As a desert ranger, Doron worked with various vegetable farmers and saw the damage fertilizer and pesticides inflicted on the soil and crops. He decided to only grow organic, without polluting the groundwater or the animals and insects of the desert. Doron maintains a deep connection to his grove: “When you connect strongly to the trees, you can look at them and feel what they need. Especially when I’m going in the grove, I do the best to take good things and speak to the trees good things and to get into the atmosphere in the grove. It’s a great atmosphere inside. They influence me and I influence them.”

Doron was born and raised in Tel Aviv. After his army service he spent the next 21 years as a ranger in the desert. As a ranger he cultivated a deep love for the Negev, as well as a rich understanding of the region’s ecosystem: its flora, fauna, weather and soil. He was also introduced to majestic enclaves of the desert. After coming across the village of Ezuz, Doron decided to that he would one day settle there. He followed through with this decision and watched a herd of sheep with a friend for many years. Soon the land called to him and Doron contemplated growing grapes, though he was guided by the Hebrew adage, If you want to save for days, grow vines. If you want to plant for years, grow trees and educate people. So he planted olive trees.

Ezuz is isolated, both from the influence of modern, industrial agriculture, as well as the pollution of larger cities. The more balanced ecosystem is the reason Doron’s groves don’t suffer from the same fly and pest problems of many other Israeli growers, and Doron has no need to spray his trees with noxious chemicals.

Doron’s Olive Oil

The Organic Olive Groves of Ezuz, IsraelNegev Nectars Organic Olive Oil is a choice blend of the Sourya, Barnea and Picual olives.  The Barnea olive is a well adapted desert species that was discovered in the Sinai–it produces fleshy fruit that when blended with the Picual and the Sourya olive has a great flavor.  The oil reflects the very climate and environment where the olives are grown.  The various of olives are thoughtfully grown by Doron Akiva, an Israeli grower who has fallen in love with the Negev and its environs.

The desert is a stressful growing environment for olives, which researchers at Ben Gurion University have found strengthens olive trees and produces fruit with higher oil yields. Doron refrains from using too much fertilizer, letting the trees produce the nutrients to survive, which fortuitously produces uniquely nutrient-rich and flavorful olives.


Recognizing the scarcity of water in Israel’s desert, Doron has taken a conservational approach:

  1. Extracting Organic Olive Oil in Ezuz, IsraelThe olives are only irrigated with brackish (salty water) from an underground aquifer.  No sweet water or water from the dangerously low-level Kineret are used.
  2. Doron has incorporated the latest in computerized irrigation technology so that the trees only get what they need every day, and the rest won’t just be evaporated.

“Negev Nectars olive oils have a freshness and lightness which makes them ideal for a variety of applications in our kitchen. They have a true olive flavor that genuinely reflects the taste of the land and the sun where they are grown.”- Philip McGrath, Chef/Owner of the Iron Horse Grill, Pleasantville, NY

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