As a kibbutz on the Lebanese border comes under almost daily fire and its residents evacuate, two men stay alone to safeguard its fish farms.
Kibbutz Dan is usually a pastoral setting, with lush green vegetation and a river fed yearlong by streams from Mount Hermon.
Less than two miles from the Lebanese border, the kibbutz now finds itself in a military zone and the majority of its 850 inhabitants evacuated.
Two of those who steadfastly remain are Assaf Koren, CEO of Caviar Galilee; and his cofounder Avshalom Hurvitz, a biologist who since 1982 has overseen the growth of Dan Fish Farms, a cultivator of trout.
Competing worldwide in the market for this costly delicacy required ingenuity to overcome many challenges in harvesting egg roe from sturgeon fish.
Kibbutz Dan, located on the foot of Mount Hermon in northern Israel, decided to set up fish farms over 80 years ago.
It seemed like a good proposition. The ponds would be filled by the stream of melted snow flowing down into the Dan River, whose water the Bible noted for its purity. Today, its temperature is a constant 16 degrees Celsius year round, ideal for fish cultivation.
As Israel emerges from the pandemic, the desire to splurge together with the surreal mania of fundraising and buyouts in the high-tech sector have created a new gourmet craze.
Asaf Koren, the CEO of Karat Caviar at Kibbutz Dan, had a lot of reasons to worry when the coronavirus pandemic erupted. The plant that he manages on the banks of the Dan River in Israel’s north has been raising female Russian sturgeon fish since 1992.