Monday, 1 November 2010

Autumn day out

Last week, on a spur of the moment I joined Anna, an Italian journalist in her research for material on a story for Italian TV about the local farmers market.

With Terra Madre taking place in Turin these days the story of various local farmers market, nurturing a complicated land with love and respect, we had less then a day and an impossible schedule.

From Tel Aviv in central Israel Anna, the photographer and myself headed south to a local olive oil producer. We had a chat, took a walk and snacked on an impromptu picnic on the back of his pick up truck, essentially bread, olive oil and tapanade.

By the time we left for the dairy farm, in the North of Israel, the sun had begun to set and the highways clogged with the end-of-week traffic. We arrived at the farm hungry, tired and agitated and it was already dark. The dairy was ready to close for the day, the cattle was back in the farm after a day's grazing, the herd dogs were smeared on the floor following a long day of herding and the last cheese was placed in the cold room, to begin its aging process.

Barkanit is a small family run dairy farm founded over 30 years ago. They have local varieties of goats and sheep that roam the local landscape during the day, feeding only on grass with no other additives, antibiotics or the likes.

The cheeses are all produced by hand using traditional methods, and according to Avinoam it is only women that make the cheese, as they have the right 'touch'. The range of cheese produced ranges from soft, semi soft, camembert style and blue cheese as well as hard aged cheese, all made naturally, by hand and with much love and care.

We roamed the land, met new people and generally had a welcome change of scenery, as from the back seat of the car endless fields replaced the grey urban landscape.
I met the salt of the earth.

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