Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey

Yom sheni, 11 Sivan 5770.

 When we were stationed in Germany, finding what we needed for our Shabbat and Yom Tov table didn't just mean going to a few different stores.  It meant going to three different countries.

In the land of milk and honey, finding just what you need for the holiday of Shavuot can be one-stop shopping, if you know where to shop.

We had a wonderful but too-brief visit to the Gush Etzion Farmers' Market, sponsored by Lone Tree Brewery and Ruti's Gallery.  (Nice lady.  No relation.)  Lone Tree Brewery's beer garden, located in the courtyard of Antman's Farm (opposite the Deer Park) in Gush Etzion, was the market's pleasant open-air venue.
    As promised in the advertising, there was an abundance of homemade delicacies, as well as hand-crafted art which was not just pretty, but wearable and usable, my favorite sorts of decorative delights.
We have been privileged to enjoy tastings of the newly-developed Lone Tree beer.  There are many flavors.  It is clear that the brew-masters are taking much care in handcrafting their little babies, and in promoting "the art of beer."
I did not have time to shop the herb booth; but I am looking forward to adding some of these beautiful herbs to my yard!

Ruti and her sons seemed to corner the market on herbs and pottery and interesting cheeses.  I have to admit that I don't just "drop by" gift shops, always assuming that they will be too expensive, and filled with luxuries.  I am glad Ruti brought her wares outside the shop, as there are many reasonably-priced and varied pieces of pottery and art and jewelry.  And Ruti assures me that shoppers are welcome, even if they are just coming by to see what's new.
Some of these cheeses helped to create "the best lasagna ever," according the Mizrachi Home Taste Testers.
There is something very special about tasting the honey developed from wild flowers that grow in the Holy Land...
Be'gdei Hemp makes beautifully woven garments to order.  Watch for the bass player of the Strung-Out Quartet to be wearing one of these hemp shirts in an upcoming gig...
Besides the wonderful products, watching the workers (and their tiny helpers) was part of the fun.  Here, the little guy is picking up (and adding to) the spirit of the family business.

It is good I picked up this rich and delicious chocolate cheesecake.  I didn't bake this year, as I had always thought the boys don't like cheesecake.  And how much cheesecake do the Major and I need to eat?  I was informed that a Shavuot without Ema's cheesecake is like a pancake without syrup -- but at least Violet's recipe kept everyone from grumbling too much.

This is another booth I look forward to looking over more carefully next time.  Lots of natural items for pampering the skin and adding sweet smells to the mansion flat.
Debra and I still can't pin down where we know each other from; but it will be worth further investigation, just to see more of her beautiful fabric art.  I need to remind the guys that my birthday is coming, and that turquoise is my favorite color...

I really hadn't planned on buying herring.  I'm the only person in the house who likes it.  There is nothing like an excellent piece of matjes herring to add a little je ne sais quoi to Shabbat morning, in my opinion.  But how much herring can one girl eat?  Mordechai Zucker persuaded me that joining his Kiddush Club would be a win-win situation.  A taste really did the convincing, though: the matjes herring was delicately salted, and not too oily.  A real pleasure!

Here is more delicate, hand-crafted beauty I hope to examine and enjoy in future Farmers' Market visits...

The artists seemed to enjoy each others' company as much as we enjoyed chatting with them.  It was really a heimish atmosphere!

Lovely and interesting hats for ladies...
And awarding-winning liqueurs for those who appreciate the sweeter things in life.

Real homemade delights for the Shabbat table, ready-to-eat!
My cyber-friend of many years made aliyah around the same time I did.  She immediately began to pop up all over the internet with classes teaching Israelis the health benefits of a 100% uncooked diet.  I tasted some of what she had on offer -- and was pleasantly surprised at the delicate and delightful taste.  Note to self:  Call Chana Rachel Mark, and learn a little more about Israel Gone Raw...

There were other booths I was too rushed to photograph, such as Holy Cacao Chocolate, Israel's Hebron-based "beans to bar" handmade chocolate company.  This firm produces the. best. chocolate. I have ever tasted.  (Fortunately, I did catch up with Mssrs. Zander and Stender earlier in the week for a Stender-birthday-moment photo at Malcha Mall.)

In case you didn't make it to the premier event (or wanted more time to enjoy), the Gush Etzion Farmers' Market returns in a month! Applications are being sought from vendors with fresh produce, crafts, kosher prepared foods and baked goods, jewelry, and more. Local vendors can contact Susan at susan_levin at or 054 234 5439.

The Victoria Day 268th edition of Haveil Havalim is available at The Rebbetzin's Husband!

 Yom Tov: Jewish holiday
Shavuot: "Feast of Weeks"
Heimish: [Yiddish] Warm and comfortable; homey; folksy
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