At the end of 2018, I was touring the Shomron region with Boaz Haetzni, my most informative touring guide. We stopped for a late lunch at Giv’ot Olam farm. In free translation, the name is ‘World Hills Farm, or, ‘Hills of Eternity,’ or, ‘Everlasting Hills,’ founded in 1998 by Avri Ran who manages the farm with his daughter Sarah.
The farm, located in the biblical Nahalat [land allotment] Yosef, its name derived from Moses’ blessing, “May his land be blessed by the Lord, from the precious things of heaven … and the precious things of the everlasting hills.” (Deuteronomy 33:13-15).
On the table at the visitors’ lounge was an array of food to choose from: the farm’s laid scrambled eggs, selection of homemade yogurt and a variety of goat and sheep cheeses, fresh salad and beverages.
What caught my taste buds was the yogurt, none such I have ever eaten. At the end of the lunch break, I simply made a vow to return to the farm for the purpose of eating, one more round of its so very delicious yogurt.
As it turned out, I could return to the farm and even stay the night, and even give a hand and do some farm chores.
And so I did at the end of the year 2019. Driving in a rented car, navigated by the Waze App through the narrow, winding roads, and amassing some courage to drive on the Shomron hills’ roads, I headed to the Giv’ot Olam pastoral farm to see, hear, and smell the atmosphere of this simply breathtaking place.
Though I wanted to have a chance and speak with the very busy Mr. Ran about his farm I was not given this opportunity. Everything that is written here is my sincere impression and information I collected while staying for a day and a night on the farm. More so, in this article I am listing the farm’s points of interest for the visitor of which few I was not aware of and did not see.
Giv’ot Olam is an organic farm located way up high in the [Shomron] Samarian hills, 4.5 kilometers south-east of the Israeli community Itamar and it falls under the jurisdiction of the Shomron Regional Council.
An early riser, as I am, can see a glorious sunrise behind the bible mentioned Gilad mountain range, located east of the Jordan River, in Jordan. Moses allotted the Gilad region to the Gad and Reuven tribes and the eastern half of the Menassheh tribe (Deuteronomy 3:13; Numbers 32:40).
Giv’ot Olam Farm Yield
Givot Olam Farm has been Israel’s leading producer of organic foods since 1997.
The farm has a growing flock of Alpine brand goats and also sheep, both for the milk they produce, a delicious assortment of yogurt, and a variety of cheeses.
In the early evening I walked to the milking premises to see Shmuel, the farm’s milking-man, who reminded me of Tevye the milkman and Fidler on the Roof story, ala 21st century, in action. There I witnessed the fascinating, automated procedure of milking the goats.
The following day, I joined the farm’s yogurt’s preparation team and participated in making a fresh batch of delicious yogurt which was loaded on a truck for delivery to the country’s markets.
Not to forget that from the goats’ milk the farm produces its delicious array of cheeses that are also available in the country’s markets
The farm raises free-range chickens and sells its organic eggs to the organic food markets.
I noticed the large vineyards, growing on several of the farm’s hilltops, from their grapes the farm produces the world’s connoisseurs’ high-quality boutique wines selection and for which Israel has become so well-known.
All of the farm’s products are manufactured without the use of preservatives and without any food coloring.
All products are controlled under the most stringent conditions of Agrior, the Organic Biological Organization, the Coop Council and the Ministry of Health and Kashrut authorities.
Everything the farm produces is packed on the farm. Every morning four trucks, loaded with the farm’s produce leave the site to make deliveries to a long list of health food stores all over the country.
Visiting The Farm
The farm invites visitors just as I was invited. The visitor can tour the free-range goat and sheep enclosures and watch a milking session; visit the large free-range chicken coop and the egg packing warehouse; see the ancient winepress, Joshua Ben-Noon monument, buy the local produce and enjoy the grassy picnic area.
My Farming, Spiritual Sentiment Residue
At some point, two Israel Air Force fighter planes were surveilling the area, from high above, which made me feel safe.
At night the air was piercing cold. My assigned hosts were two young ladies who work on the farm; they prepared for me a makeshift heated guest room where I rested the night that was so piercingly quiet.
The almost two days during which I roved the Giv’ot Olam land left me with the sensation as if I got a life infusion. Not only was I privileged to breathe the pure mountain air and see the sun, as if I could touch it, rising, but I felt the connection to the earth, a connection one loses when one lives in the bustle of the city.
With the hope that I will have another opportunity to visit Giv’ot Olam, I truly recommend the reader, when in Israel, to do as I did, travel on the roads of ancient Israel’s beautiful lands of the Shomron and connect with the old-new Jewish-Israeli farming experience.