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The Salad Trail

Baking dough on a Druze-type dome oven. Photo: Cecily Hanson

On October 29, a bus-full of keen ESRA travelers set off down south on a lovely sunny day …destination … The Salad Trail on Moshav Talmei Yosef, 7km from the southern Gaza border.

We stopped at the Dangour monument not far from the Moshav, commemorating the brave people of Kibbutz Nirim who, in May 1948, despite the tragic death of 8 of their number, managed to stave off the advancing Egyptian army.

Our charming guide for the day, Peter Harris, had brought with him a cage of homing pigeons. They were all let loose, three with messages tied to their feet. After circling above us, their homing instincts took them to Moshav Talmei Yosef, announcing our imminent arrival!

Walking from one hothouse to another, we learnt the history of this 'farm museum' owned by agronomist Uri Alon, and about the modern agronomical methods employed to make the desert bloom (only 80mm of rain falls there per year but it's supplemented by drip irrigation fed by recycled water). We tasted several of the most delicious and succulent varieties of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, radish, kohlrabi, numerous herbs and, after our meal, we pulled white and purple carrots out of the ground, eating them on the spot. Lemons we picked too - to taste at home.

More gastronomical delights awaited. We each stretched out a little parcel of dough which Peter then baked on a Druze-type dome 'oven', spread it with herbed olive oil and washed it down with herbal tea. After tasting the local honey and buying some of the produce on sale, we were treated to the most appetizing chicken and vegetables, slow-cooked on a 3-legged poitije pot, served with salads and followed by dessert. We also observed troughs of strawberries, yet to ripen, hanging up there above us.

Our trip was not yet complete … a few kilometers away, we stopped at the ruins of the ancient synagogue, Maon, where most of the mosaic floor, dating back 1,500 years, has been exquisitely restored.

It was a glorious, exciting and fun-filled day, one that I'd recommend for all ages and tastes. 



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