Israel's best picnic options

You don’t have to worry about grub or a cozy location with these options.

Farma Cultura picnic spread (photo credit: SHARON FEIEREISEN)
Farma Cultura picnic spread
(photo credit: SHARON FEIEREISEN)
Corona times require creativity. No longer can weekends be filled with life’s simple pleasures, like a heart-pounding workout class at a local studio followed by an indulgent brunch at a favorite eatery. While social distancing remains necessary for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean we have to stay parked on the couch now that it’s too cold for the beach.
Picnics not only make for a fun activity, they are a safe way to socialize with friends and family. Plus, with the options below, there’s no prep work required; you not only get a great setting, you’ll also get a basket full of local, fresh produce waiting for you.
While Israel remains relatively warm year-round, the weather can get finicky and not all of the locations listed offer tented areas. So plan accordingly with waterproof blankets, warm-weather clothing and, of course, nothing warms the blood quite like a bit of Israeli wine.
1. Farma Cultura
Keep their phone number handy when heading to the tucked away Farma Cultura because it’s not exactly where it appears on Waze and can be a bit tricky to find. Once you arrive you’ll find an organic oasis of pure bliss. Your first stop will be in the organic shop, which is filled with edible delights including fruits, veggies, cheeses, crackers and spreads that you can use to supplement your basket or load up on to take home. Picnic baskets must be ordered in advance, and yours will be waiting for you upon your arrival. Each basket is NIS 279 and is suitable for two people. The price includes a 15-minute farm tour where you’ll tour the property as you nosh on kale, smell cinnamon, and possibly burn your mouth with some of Farma Cultura’s piping hot peppers. After the tour you can roam around the farm to find your perfect picnic spot. They have a spacious tented area should it rain during your trip. This is a great destination spot for families, so you’ll see just as many couples with kids or babies as you will friends picnicking.
HaManim St. 19, Bnei Zion, 052-969-6299, farmacultura.com. Not kosher.
2. Petel Eretz
Located on Moshav Ta’oz, Petel Eretz is one of the few places in Israel where you can enjoy berries – and trust when we say these might well be the best berries you’ve ever tasted. In addition to greenhouses filled with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, they grow a number of leafy greens and herbs which you’ll get to enjoy with one of their picnic baskets. Each basket, meant for two, ranges in price from NIS 260 to NIS 290, depending on what kind of drink you opt for. Reserve in advance to make sure there’s room, as space is limited, given social distancing regulations. Once you arrive, someone at Petel Eretz will help you assemble your basket with lots of goodies, including cornichons, local cheese, home-made spreads, seed-based crackers and more. (Tip: the vegan pecan cheese isn’t included but worth adding to your basket.) We also suggest supplementing with bread from Ish Lechem, located next door (specifically their mini-challa, ciabatta and pretzels). Once you have your basket, you’ll have acres of land to choose from. They have pillows, hammocks and tables set up throughout the vast property.
Ta’oz, 054-580-9655, facebook.com/peteleretz. Not kosher.
PETEL ERETZ picnic spread and Ish Lechem bread. (Sharon Feirereisen) PETEL ERETZ picnic spread and Ish Lechem bread. (Sharon Feirereisen)
3. Jacobs Farm
You’ve likely seen Jacobs Farm products at supermarkets all around Israel, but they offer so much more than packaged Gouda, tzfatit and feta. Head to their farm shop and you’ll see rows and rows of all kinds of fresh soft and hard cheeses. While they don’t offer pre-made baskets, the experts at the shop will put together cheese platters on the spot based on your tastes. You can then supplement with challa, spreads, jams, pastries/cookies and coffee drinks. They also have a cart next door selling juices and smoothies as well as a little hummus. Once you have all the goods in hand you can enjoy them at one of the tables outside, or drive about 15 minutes and you’ll find plenty of parks and lookout points where you can enjoy your picnic.
Ha-Rav Yisra’eli St., Kfar Haroeh, (04) 625-1266, jacobs-agadatlechem.com. Kosher.
4. HaLakaat
HaLakaat is chef Ido Segev’s Jaffa-based seasonal delicatessen. Chef Segev crafts a line of boutique products, including jams, spreads and pickled goods; offers daily meal deliveries and picnic baskets; and hosts private open-air events at his Jaffa rooftop. Everything is inspired by and based on local, seasonal and often foraged ingredients. You can buy individual products (NIS 20 to NIS 40) or meals (NIS 45 to NIS 70) or get one of his picnic baskets for two for NIS 300, which include a range of spreads, salads, cured fish, freshly baked bread and local wine or HaLakaat’s craft beer. Enjoy it on the Jaffa roof, or delivery options are available to Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon and Herzliya,
052-346-4244, instagram.com/halakaat. Not kosher.
5. Hanan Hagaban
The cheeses and salads here are fantastic, but you’ll want to go on a weekday as it’s not as organized as the other options on this list. A recent trip, after being told that they weren’t taking reservations, entailed a two-hour wait only to find many options sold out. Come on a weekday, however, and you can pick from a wide variety of cow, sheep and goat milk cheeses along with bread, olives, spreads, jams and wine. They also have a variety of variously priced picnic options that are filled with cheeses, fresh picked vegetables, olives, spreads, wines and more. They also offer delivery options that will bring the picnic basket to you.
Derech HaMeyasdim 54, Herut, (09) 788-9990, hagaban.co.il. Kosher.
Picnic by Deshen (Picnic by Deshen) Picnic by Deshen (Picnic by Deshen)
6. Picnic by Deshen
Picnic by Deshen has a number of options that can be browsed on their website, ranging in price from NIS 250 to NIS 370. They make feta and Bulgarian cheese in their factory, which has been operating for many generations. These serve as the base for many of the baskets, which also come filled with things like wine, bread, spreads and other handmade local delicacies. They deliver to Tel Aviv and the surrounding area.
161 Yigal Alon St., Tel Aviv. 052-669-6939, picnic-by-deshen-dairy.com. Kosher.
7. Delicatessen
Owned by hospitality powerhouse R2M, Delicatessen has a number of picnic baskets available for delivery from their website. They have themed ones – like an American picnic which comes with smoked salmon, egg salad, bagels, cold brew coffee, crudité, and more. They also have vegan and gluten-free options along with many others overflowing with muffins, sandwiches, and cold cuts. They range in price from NIS 68-NIS 425 and they are not kosher.
Delivery is in the Tel Aviv area, but may be arranged to other areas by calling (03) 968-1010. delitlv.co.il.
RTM SPREAD. (Tel Aviv City Ladies)RTM SPREAD. (Tel Aviv City Ladies)
8. RTM
RTM is a family-run business that offers a variety of breakfast and food trays. Everything is prepared by hand and includes things like crudité, sweet and savory pastries, cheese, breads, fruit, egg salad, salmon, nuts, jam and spreads and fresh squeezed juices. They offer delivery from Netanya to Ashkelon or pick-up in Holon. Prices range from NIS 250-NIS 350. The RTM team keeps kosher, but are not certified kosher.
To place orders: rotem.babay@gmail.com.