The launch of the Tel Aviv Earth Market last Friday celebrates the nation’s first farmers’ market, providing a place for good, clean and fair producers to sell directly to consumers. Around fifty growers, cheesemakers, artisan bakers and brewers will trade at the weekly market, with an individual producer highlighted each month in the market’s central educational stand.
The two young women behind the project, Shir Halperin and Michal Ansky, are chefs and food writers who met through their shared interest in culinary history while studying at Tel Aviv University. They began to dream of initiating a European-style farmers’ market, which would create a direct connection between producers and consumers, and the local Slow Food movement happily agreed to sponsor the project.
Michal and Shir spent several months traveling around Israel searching for suitable producers, following the Slow Food Earth Market guidelines on taste, high-quality and small-scale production, sustainable agriculture and fair pricing. Around one hundred producers were selected and joined the market project, with around half attending the market on any one week due to seasonality of products.
The array of fresh and preserved produce at the inaugural market included cheeses from the Barkanit dairy, yogurt-based soups, traditional breads and pastries, specialty fruit varieties from Yesud Hama’ala, Al Jamal tehina, Ramallah olive oil, fresh herbs from the Besor region and Yaakov and Zion Cohen’s award-winning tomatoes from their farm in Moshav Tekuma.
Tel Aviv Earth Market is held in the city’s port every Friday from 8am until sunset. Earth Markets are a specific model of farmers’ market proposed by Slow Food to strengthen opportunities for producers to sell directly to their local consumers, thus encouraging a short food supply chain. Earth Markets have been established in Italy, Mali and Lebanon to date. Slow Food Israel hopes to launch Earth Markets in other major centers in the future.