Cherries on a tree in Yatir, Southern Hebron Hills region.
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Who would expect that in the Northern Negev, on the edge of the desert you can grow red sweet cherries? Growing cherries in Israel is well known in the northern part of the country because cool weather is necessary for a successful yield.
Crazy or not, in Yatir someone decided to grow cherries and the region's heights of nearly 900 meters above sea level made it a viable option. The results speak for themselves with wonderfully sweet fruit that ripens before any other cherries in Israel.
On May 31 and June 7 everyone is invited to jump in the car and drive to Yatir region to enjoy the cherries and much more. The 2 day fair will be full of activities and events to include workshops, a farmers market, and inflatables for young kids and cherry self-picking. Many activities are offered for free while others are for a charge. Other activities include laser tag, a zip line, food booths and the sale of locally produced items like honey, chocolate and wine.
As juicy as the cherries are, that is only a taste of what you can do and explore in the Yatir region throughout the year. As the largest planted forest in Israel, 4 million tress are sure to offer numerous beautiful spots. You can tour through the forest with electric bicycles. Gal Magal of Midbar-e offers guided or self-guided tours that help you to climb effortlessly up the forest roads and paths and is suitable for families and groups.
Vanilla and Cinnamon will organize a picnic basket which you can take to a favorite site of your choosing in the giant forest. For a more organized spot for lunch, drive to Mitzpe Yair and visit the magical isolated Cafe RonEl situated on top of the high hill. At RonEl you will enjoy great home cooking (kosher dairy) and listen to the fascinating life story of Ronel Barak who owns the place. The cafe overlooks a marvelous landscape of the Judean desert.
After your yummy break, catch a jeep trip with "Danny Bamidbar" to travel the rural roads of the region. This guided 4x4 tour is very different from the regular jeep trips that are known in the rest of Israel. Meet the Bedouin neighbors who live a simple life raising livestock, sheep, goats and camels. Enjoy Bedouin hospitality with the traditional bitter black Bedouin coffee or by contrast with a sweet glass of tea in Adnan’s tent.
To visit the ancient people of Yatir Region and South Hebron Hills you drive straight to ancient Susya. An excavated, restored and well preserved synagogue with a beautiful mosaic will help you step back in time and feel like you are walking through the alleys and caves of that ancient Jewish settlement. What an example of history meeting spirituality at its best and during the festival activities a potter and others will sit in and around the cave making all kinds of traditional tools right before your eyes.
Yatir region is the perfect escape from the routine tourist sights. The vast and tranquil hills of South Hebron Hills region and the Northern Negev are sweetened right now with red juicy cherries. More information can be found at: www.goyatir.co.il
or on Facebook: @yatirtourism
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