Last Friday morning at the height of pre-New Year’s holiday preparations, we decided to finally check out the once-a-week Farmer’s Market at Tel Aviv port. Tel Aviv already has a well-established and famous outdoor market, the Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel), which is filled with hawkers and gawkers morning to evening, Sunday through Friday (Sunday being a regular workday here in Israel). So the idea of a Farmer’s Market, in part supported by Israel’s “Slow Food” movement, was to me a little odd. What could possibly be different about this market, which my Israeli husband immediately dubbed “Shuk HaYuppie”? (Somehow I don’t think you need that translated.)
Although pretty tiny for a Farmer’s Market, the usual and the unusual shared stalls. Israel grows just about everything (the advantage of having 5 climate zones in a small area), so alongside the fresh asparagus, arugula and grape tomatoes were dragon fruit, enokitake mushrooms, sunflower sprouts, fresh lemon grass (heavenly smell, makes great tea) along with cheeses, wine and beer from Dancing Camel, Tel Aviv’s most blogged about microbrewery. What really made me smile, and dispelled any thought that this was a market for yuppies, was seeing the elderly women checking out the produce and haggling like they were at Shuk HaCarmel.
Still, this was the Farmer’s Market at Tel Aviv Port, which is better known for its restaurants and coffee houses. When we arrived at the port around 9am, most every place on the boardwalk was either setting up or had a few early risers sipping coffee and reading newspapers. (Friday is considered the first day of the Israeli weekend, if you’re lucky enough to work a 5-day week.) Since I had a birthday coupon from work for “coffee and danish”, after our morning’s shopping we headed over to Max Brenner and shared a Belgian waffle topped in chocolate fondant, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a side of hot fudge sauce. We drank an extra large mug of strong coffee to wash down the sweetness. A picture of the aftermath above. Only the Gummi Bears survived.
Would I go every week to the Farmer’s Market at the Port? Probably not. Rising gas costs and a single income these days make it particularly difficult, but as a once-a-month or two “outing”, probably yes. Besides, there were these mushrooms and leeks there that would make a fabulous soup come Hannukah…