Fruit and veg play an important part of not only the Israeli diet, but also its agricultural history. Roll up your sleeves and find out more with these eight great guided farm tours or workshops.
Luscious local vegetables and fruits always await vacationers in Israel, starting each morning at our famous hotel breakfast buffets.
But why settle for a passive produce experience? Pick it yourself on a guided tour, in English, at farms throughout the country.
This is a great opportunity to get to know growers, get your hands dirty in a good way, and taste the nutritious and delicious goodness of the land.
Shirat Ha’Midbar (Song of the Desert), Halutza
Permaculture designer and alternative medicine therapist Golan Cohen will give your group a fascinating tour of the medicinal herbs, spices, argan trees, grapes, and other fruits that he and his wife, Noa, have been raising sustainably on this organic western Negev desert farm since 2007.
In addition to the 90- to 120-minute tour of the plants and produce with an explanation of their folklore and medicinal uses, your group can request special workshops and/or healthful lunches served onsite.
Each visit (recommended for ages 10 to adult) begins with a cold or hot drink under the shady palm trees.
To arrange a tour at Shirat Ha’Midbar, click here.
Five Senses Greenhouse and Sunshine Chef, Kibbutz Elifaz
Discover the wonders of solar energy in the Five Senses Greenhouse and sample the harvest in culinary creations from the Sunshine Chef solar oven at Kibbutz Elifaz in the southern Arava, about 20 minutes north of Eilat.
This “greenhouse to plate” tour begins in an indoor complex with cups of herbal tea and breathtaking views. Next comes picking produce from the greenhouse, slicing and seasoning the vegetables, seasoning them with herbs and placing them on special trays to slide into the unique Sunshine Chef vacuum tube system run on solar power.
While the veggies are roasting, you get a guided tour of the growing fields and fruit tree groves, picking seasonal crops and herbs as you learn about desert agriculture. The visit includes a demonstration at the kibbutz’s essential oil distillery. A shop onsite sells spices, dates, coffee, herbs and fresh pita as well as crafts and produce from other area farms.
The one-hour group tours run daily from October to May and are suitable for all ages. There are plenty of places to sit and relax in the shade and kids can join a tractor ride.
To arrange a tour at Five Senses Greenhouse, click here.
Root and Leaf Farm (Havat Shoresh V’Aleh), Moshav Ben-Shemen
Root and Leaf Farm in central Israel features a hydroponic greenhouse growing a variety of lettuces and other vegetables sold directly to restaurants and at the local farmers’ market on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Visitors (ages three and up) are welcome to join a guided tour of the greenhouse and the organic garden – including samples, of course — followed by a sprout-growing workshop. Each participant prepares a tray of sprouts from sunflower seeds, radishes and beans to take home.
To arrange a tour at Root and Leaf Farm, go to the farm’s Facebook page and send a message (the Facebook page is in Hebrew but you can message in English).
The Salad Trail, Moshav Talmei Yosef
Agronomist Uri Alon and his team of professional guides will show you their cutting-edge agricultural technologies in the northern Negev and invite you to pick and sample produce along the way.
You’ll see tomatoes growing upwards, strawberries growing in the air, medicinal herbs and multicolored carrots.
Suited to all ages around the year, the Salad Trail offers activities such as making a Hawaiian style necklace from kumquats, sending a message on the leg of a homing pigeon, finding your way through a passionfruit maze, baking pita and more.
To arrange a tour of the Salad Trail, click here.
Pull Carrot Farm (Mashoch B’Gezer), Moshav Tzofit
Carrots, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, celery, sweet potatoes and other veggies are waiting for you to harvest them at this guided pick-your-own farm just north of Kfar Saba.
It’s open on Saturdays from September to May and on weekdays during Sukkot and Hanukkah. There are picnic tables, a playground and an exhibition of tractors and agricultural tools. You can buy Druze foods including pita, plus soft drinks and popsicles.
For more information on Pull Carrot Farm, click here or call 053-360-0175.
The Spice Way (Derech HaTavlinim), Bethlehem-of-the-Galilee
If you have a group of 10 or more, an English-speaking guide can be arranged to take you on a tractor tour of this herb and spice farm and its large market/visitors center, where there are cooking activities and explanations centering on some 1,000 varieties of spices and herbs for sale there.
Activities for kids, picnics, live performances and other special events take place at The Spice Way throughout the year.
To arrange a tour of The Spice Way, click here.
Idan Fruit, Moshav Betzet, Western Galilee
Your group will tour the banana plantation and then proceed to the visitor center to learn how owners Idan and Nadav prepare dried fruit.
In addition to tasting the fruits with a cup of herbal tea, you can choose among a variety of 90-minute workshops in which you can make chocolate-fruit-and-nut treats, fruit-and-nut stuffed dates, fruit leather, a sushi fruit platter, energy bars or granola.
Leket Israel, Rishon LeZion
Here is an opportunity to join about 54,000 annual volunteers – Israelis and visitors — in harvesting produce from farms in Rishon LeZion grown exclusively for distribution to Israelis in need through charitable organizations.
Suitable for all ages, the gleanings take place on Sunday to Thursday during three two-hour time slots.
To sign up for gleaning vegetables at Leket, click here.
Originally posted at israel21c.org