Milk & Honey Festival returns to Israel ahead of Shavuot

Below, you will find an assortment of activities that will be taking place during the Milk & Honey Festival. Enjoy!

 Lehem Shel Rony – Sourdough Bread Art (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Lehem Shel Rony – Sourdough Bread Art
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)

The annual Milk & Honey Festival, which began on Friday and will continue until May 27, will once again be taking place in the Jezreel Valley. 

Visitors will be treated to live performances and concerts, energizing dance sessions, exhibitions of artwork created by local artists, and lots of other exciting activities for the whole family. Over the Shavuot holiday weekend, there will be a special family event for kids and their families at the Ein Dor Museum called From Wheat to Bread. It includes a guided tour showing how wheat stalks are harvested using a scythe, how the wheat is ground with a millstone, and how bread is baked. And at Rancho Manis, located on Moshav Tzipori, visitors can feed the horses and see how they are prepped for riding. 

Below, you will find an assortment of activities that will be taking place during the Milk & Honey Festival. Enjoy!

1. Lehem Shel Rony – Sourdough Bread Art

At Mitzpe Adi, which overlooks the Jezreel Valley and the Kinneret, you will find a quaint bakery that is run by Rony Layla, who discovered his love of baking bread after working for many years in hi-tech. Despite his successful career, Layla decided to put his computer away and build a bakery right in his backyard. 

On March 1, 2020, just as we all began hearing about a strange virus that was spreading around the world, Layla installed his first oven and began on his new adventure. At first, he thought he would probably just sell bread near his home, so he used regular kitchen baking equipment. He quickly realized, though, that demand had far outpaced his output, so he began expanding his line of products. Every morning, Layla bakes a variety of breads: spelt, sourdough, gluten-free and focaccia. He also offers workshops in his kitchen. 

 Lehem Shel Rony – Sourdough Bread Art (credit: MEITAL SHARABI) Lehem Shel Rony – Sourdough Bread Art (credit: MEITAL SHARABI)

During the Milk & Honey Festival, Layla is holding an art event featuring six local artists who provide live musical performances, bake bread and pastries, pour wine from the Jonah Winery in Tzipori, and offer locally produced cheeses. 

Price of bread: NIS 22-35. Price of five-hour food and wine workshop: NIS 350.Details:, 052-942-7137.

2. Ofir Farm, Winery and Apiary

In 1985, Hadas and Zvika Ofir took the first steps in the creation of their farm, on which they raise bees, grow grapes and bottle wine. From the get-go, the Ofirs began selling their high-quality honey, and two years later they planted their first vineyard. At first, they sold their wine-quality grapes to other wineries, but in 1999 they decided to establish their own boutique winery. Today, they produce over 10,000 bottles a year of their five lines, which include red, rosé, white and dessert wines.

The winery visitor’s center is situated in a log cabin that was built from the wood of trees in the Appalachian Mountains in the US. Visitors can choose from a number of options: a picnic basket filled with tasty and nutritious foods and their choice of wine (NIS 290); a wine tasting and cheese platter (NIS 90); or a guided tour and wine tasting (NIS 130).

Date: May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Price: NIS 40 (includes a glass of wine)Details: (04) 986-1466

3. Galili Olive Oil

One of the most interesting olive presses in Israel can be seen at Galili Olive Oil, which was founded by Eran Galili. It is located in Bethlehem of Galilee, a picturesque village. Before opening Galili Olive Oil and growing organic olives, Galili worked in publishing. After making his career move, he became so ensconced in the world of olive oil that he was chosen to be an official olive oil taster and judge. After living in central Israel for many years, he and his wife, Tamar, returned to his hometown, where run a boutique mill that produces a number of types of olive oil. At the visitor’s center, guests can watch a short film about the process of olive oil production, and then enjoy an olive oil tasting. 

Details: (04) 689-9779; 052-615-4411 

4. Weapons Cache in Nahalal

During the days of the British Mandate at Moshav Nahalal, the Avidov family had a secret weapons cache. It was an extremely successful hiding place, as they disguised it as a pit that contained urine from the cows of the nearby cowshed. Many Hagana members constructed such hiding places in pre-state times to hide their weapons from the British. In 1943, the Avidov family dug out this hiding place, which is five meters deep and covers an area of 25 sq.m., with only simple tools and without equipment or machinery. 

Next to the weapons cache, visitors can look at photos of the pre-state period. Avidov family members provide guests with anecdotes and trivia about what it was like to live on the moshav in those days. They also lead guided tours of the famous Nahalal Cemetery.

Location: 27 Maagal St., Moshav NahalalPrice: NIS 30Details: Pre-registration required: 052-334-7194

Where to eat?

5. Bella – Italian and Mediterranean cuisine

Twelve years ago in Beit She’arim, childhood friends Idan Lifshitz and Lior Golan opened Bella, a restaurant that serves Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The two friends had grown up in Beit She’arim, and after living for many years in Tel Aviv, were very excited to return home. Lifshitz had worked as a chef at Toto in Tel Aviv and was enamored with seafood dishes, as well as handmade pasta and pizza, artichokes and burrata. During the festival, Bella is offering special festive cocktails and will remain open until 11:30 p.m. 

Details: (04) 983-0730

 Golda Behatzer (credit: MEITAL SHARABI) Golda Behatzer (credit: MEITAL SHARABI)

6. Golda Behatzer

Located in Kibbutz Merhavia and managed by Dorit Shaklovski, the Golda Behatzer restaurant is situated  in a building that used to be the kibbutz’s children’s house. This historical building, as well as others around it, is surrounded by an abundance of greenery, and visitors can hear famed stories about the early days of the kibbutz. One particularly beloved tale is about prime minister Golda Meir, who lived in Merhavia for a year. 

Shaklovski created Golda Behatzer in 2004, after the kibbutz was privatized. Her sister-in-law, Sheli, makes all the desserts, while Shaklovski is in charge of the savory dishes. At first, they sold their wares for takeaway, but they quickly realized that there was enough demand for them to offer a sit-down service and that patrons were coming from all around the country. They also offer picnic baskets for NIS 260.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-SaturdayDetails: 052-376-7150

Where to stay?

8. Kibbutz Mizra Guest House

Kibbutz Mizra Guest House has 65 guest rooms, each outfitted with a kitchenette. During the festival and throughout the summer, guests are welcome to swim in the kibbutz swimming pool free of charge and enjoy the expansive lawns. Moreover, guests receive free entrance to the petting zoo and the children’s play area. 

Price: Starting at NIS 400 for double occupancy, including breakfastDetails: (04) 642-9230

Translated by Hannah Hochner.