David Kushmero and his son in their greenhouse
David Kushmero and his son in their greenhouse. Photo by Eli Hershkovitz
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The heat wave of the past few weeks has given the country a surplus of roasted vegetables - on the vine, that is.

Farmers are reporting temperatures in greenhouses topping 70 degrees Celsius. In total, the heat caused damage to produce valued at tens of millions of shekels, the Israel Vegetable Growers Association said.

While no vegetables are expected to disappear altogether from the market, prices are going to be increasing, even though they're already higher than usual for the season.

The main greenhouse crops damaged are cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs, and the main field crops damaged are melons and watermelons.

Growers said vegetable shortages are expected during the holidays next month, while tomatoes will be lacking by early winter.

Since the growers' insurance does not cover damage from heat waves, the farmers will be paying for the damage themselves.

The secretary of the Vegetable Growers Association asked the government to declare the heat wave a natural disaster, so that the farmers would be able to receive government assistance.

The heat burned the tomato flowers' stamens, said David Kushmero, a farmer on Moshav Yeted, which means they won't be fertilized and bear fruit.

"At this time last year, I was getting 43 tons of tomatoes per greenhouse dunam, and this year I won't get even three tons," he said.