Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rural scenes

As in Europe and the U.S., herbal remedies and organic farming are held in high regard. Two took us to three natural farms.

At one, in Rosh Pina, former Chicagoan Mark Rubin and his family milk goats for cheese and bake crackers, breads and pies sold in local shops or used for catering.

At Supherbs, in the town of Tzippori, Roni Gan walked us through the demonstration garden used for teaching natural health students about the herbs that she and her husband Peretz grow here: calendula for skin nourishment, stinging nettles for arthritis and prostate and energy boosting, lavender for relaxation, medicinal sage for stomach aches. Originally, she says, healers looked to tradition to know which plants to use for an ailment; now science is trying to prove why they work. Says Gan, “You can’t argue with history.’’

Near Supherbs we stopped for a goat cheese tasting and lunch at the Ellis farm, where Tal Ellis – originally from Texas – and is wife Adi – originally from Minnesota – raise goats and make first quality cheeses for their company, Tzon-El. Their 25-plus-years as farmers in Israel haven’t often been easy…but they’ve stayed. Says Tal, “We try to do things with quality. We’re not Zionists like some people, but we feel like we’re contributing in our own way.’’

Top: Cheese-tasting and lunch at Tzon-El
Above left and right: Mark Rubin and a goat at the Rubin farm in Rosh Pina

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