A day in the country: Vegetable picking and a wheat festival

Once so often we rent a car and leave the city. The festival of Shavuot a month ago was one of those times. We headed up north into the Galilee, one of my favorite places to visit. There, we spent a day in Beit Lehem Haglilit (literally Bethlehem of the Galilee), splitting our time between the pick-your-own farm Ktofoti (“Pick Me”) and the neighboring Havat Derech Hatavlinim (“Spice Route Farm”), which was hosting a wheat festival for Shavuot.

We started out picking vegetables – a smart move, since apparently all the visitors pick the fields clean by early afternoon. Admission is 40 shekels per person, plus another 25 shekels per basket, and you get to fill each basket as much as you possibly can.

We went straight for the corn, our favorite. We ate sweet raw corn standing in the field, straight off the cobs. Afterward, we looked at how root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, onions and beets grow, collected a few, checked out the eggplant plants (not many eggplants were left), collected a solitary strawberry or two (not many strawberries were left), and then headed for a break in the shade.

While the kids ate Druze pita alongside vegetable sticks we’d packed from home (ha), I collected immature zucchinis with flowers still attached – a delicacy you won’t find at most stores in Israel. This, after all, is the advantage of being able to pick your own food straight from the plant.

After resting, we walked a few hundred meters to Havat Derech Hatavlinim for the wheat festival – one of the annual festivals the farm/store hosts to mark various holidays. The complex, which includes a massive store, had half a dozen activities for children hosted on site – basket weaving, labaneh ball rolling, making art with spices.

My son wove a small wall decoration out of wheat, and then we took a tractor ride out into the fields, where children were given scissors to harvest their own bouquet of wheat stalks.

As families returned to the tractor with bountiful bouquets, we realized my son was empty-handed. He’d had a blast cutting things, but didn’t bother to collect them, and dropped every single stalk he picked.

We spent the following weak feasting on cheese-stuffed fried zucchini flowers, and more corn than you could possibly imagine.

Ktofoti – pick-your-own farm in Beit Lehem Haglilit. Open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.

Derech Hatavlinim – spice farm and store in Beit Lehem Haglilit. Hosts festivals at the farm throughout the year, and also has branches of its stores around the country.

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