the third year in a row, we have driven for 2 hours each way to Moshav
Sde Yaakov (near Haifa) to pick berries at the Zak Family Farm.
This year, we returned to our home in Rehovot with 2 kilos of ripe berries,
which we proceeded to turn into confiture (well, my husband did, anyway [same
husband mentioned below]). The rest we froze to be served in the summer months
On our visit this year, we were taken
around by Anat Zak, who also sold us blackberry bushes to plant in our garden.
Who knows, maybe next year, you can pick berries in our yard? Anat
also told us that the self-berry picking farm is but a small part of their
business. Amiad Winery,
which specializes in fruit wines and liqueurs, buys serious quantities of
berries for their liqueurs — a bottle of which we bought from Anat. And
most of the berries in stores around the country come from the Zak Family
Farm. By picking our own berries, we paid far less than in the neighborhood
Later in the week, my husband (same
one) reported that he found a new berry farm — this one in Gedera (5 minutes
from our house). Open only on Fridays and Saturdays, owner Ronen Hillel,
confirmed that Zak is the most veteran berry grower, with the best fruit
in the business (but 2 hours each way?).
Gedera Berry Farm Tel: 050-216341;
Anat Zak’s microwave recipe for
1/2 kilo sugar
Put fruit into
the microwave for 10 minutes on high. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Mix
and put back into the microwave for 10 more minutes. Transfer the jam into
B’Tayavon — Bon apetit — Hearty appetite!
The following article is reprinted
from the May 2000 issue of @The Source Israel.
On family vacations my clever husband
has always found a way to include berry picking on the itinerary. Sometimes
we would eat our hard-earned berries at the farm and the rest later on a
picnic. One year, this same husband was positively brilliant and figured
out a way to bring them back from Canada to Israel. After we loaded our buckets
with a few kilos worth of assorted black and red berries, he then bought
pectin, sugar and some jars. You guessed it – back in our kitchenette, we
made fruit jam and returned to Israel with half a dozen jars of multi-hued
These days Israelis do not need to
travel half way around the world for this particular treat.
The berry season in Israel begins
in mid-May at the Zak Family Farm on Moshav Sde Yaakov, continues
at the Landau Farm at Moshav Ben-Ami near Nahariyya, and ends
in the Golan Heights at Kibbutz El-Rom and Bustan HaGolan
The brainchild of 3rd generation
moshavnik, Nadav Zak, the Zak self-picking berry farm has 7 varieties
of blackberries — including 2 thornless varieties — and raspberries. Berry
names are posted in the rows and you can compare tastes as you fill your
Open in the afternoons from Sunday
thru Friday. Closed on Shabbat (Saturday) and Jewish holidays.
Location: Zak Family Farm on
Moshav Sde Yaakov, 20 minutes southeast of Haifa on Route 722.
Tel: 04-983-2539; 050-297747.
Ben-Ami: At the Landau Farm on Moshav Ben-Ami the berry picking season
is from the end of May until the end of July. Pick organically-grownpitango
blackberries, raspberries, and mulberries. Landau, an expert and grower of
exotic fruits, also offers for the pick-it-youself crowd.
Open all day Friday and Saturday.
Mid-week, by advance reservation only.
Location: Landau Farm on Moshav
Ben-Ami west of Nahariyya on Route 89.
Further north, berry season takes
place from mid-June through mid-September,
Kibbutz El-Rom: In addition
to the blackberries and raspberries found at Zak Farm, Kibbutz El-Rom
also offers blueberries for picking, and a winemaking
Winemaking workshop: From mid-August,
make your own wine in a one-day session that is held daily until mid-September.
Families begin by picking grapes and then stomping on them in the old-fashioned
way. At the end of the workshop, you take home a 3-liter jug of wine, according
to Avi Gavish, program coordinator. Part of the winemaking package is a country-style
meal of labane (thick yogurt), pita and olives.
Reservations required for winemaking:
Avi Gavish: 050-252269