Our Story

My one regret is that we didn’t think to place a camera somewhere strategic right at the beginning of all this to capture all that’s happened. It would have to be a very durable device to document our little story that quickly swept us (and perhaps some of you), into this lifelong project deeply rooted in this land. This special, weathered land, that was the start of a new life in Israel for my grandfather; that was home in turn to his wives (officially four!), who led a ‘uniquely challenging’ life at his side; was also a place to move on from for his daughters, who jumped ship and never looked back.

The stories of my extended family are the type that make for soap opera inspiration – the grandfather patriarch, Asher Sigmund Hand, a hard and bitter man with a foggy past in the British Army, was also a skilled agronomist who specialized in house plants and dedicated his time to studying organic agronomy and composting - lost his (rarely seen) smile to a horrific motorcycle accident. He married many women over the years, fathered 3 children, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s the stories of the farming of this land, more fitting for a romantic drama/ fantasy genre – that taught us that farmers are an inherently optimistic breed.

Photo: Natalie Shor for Klaptish Magazine

So, why the drawn-out overture? Because it’s been almost five years (!) since we sat here on this very patio and shared an apparition. Since that glowing autumn day, we’ve been so busy GROWING - into a family with 3 daughters, and into a “Farma” (not unlike another daughter really) - and we’ve come such a long way, that it’s the first moment I feel I am finally able to sit down and start to document our story.

So much of what we do here has a powerful visual impact, and although we didn’t originally come prepared with a camera, I have managed to start an ‘album’ of photos that begins right where we did. This will be the first of our blog posts, where we will be continually sharing our stories, our people, our favorite things. But what’s important to us about this, is that we’re sharing with YOU. Because it is only through our growing community (friends, neighbours, vendors, groups, everyone), that we can comprehend what “Farma Cultura” really is, and what the land and all its flavours mean to you.

We’ll also share our recipes, our garden, and some highlights of the wisdom we pick up along the way.

Photo: Tali Dovrat

The Beginning - Here We Go...

When we (my husband Nadav and I), first moved here in late 2012, we were diehard urbanites from Tel Aviv. Before that, we lived in Pheonix Arizona, but that feels like ancient history by now. We were young parents to one-year-old Rona, he - with a degree in International Relations, me – a budding Interior Designer. Farming didn’t exactly feel like our next evolutionary step. But everything changed when we first stood together at the top of the hill and took in the beauty of the abandoned farm. There was no turning back.

The houseplants that were once neatly cultivated and cared for had broken free of their confinements and grown wild. The disintegrating greenhouse tables were held together by mutant vines that had overgrown and overflown onto everything; huge cacti blocked off every walkway. We were spellbound by the crumbling vestiges. The new shape of the farm’s old buildings, the way the light filtered through them, their Germanic symmetry, and the beautiful fertile soil had drawn us in and would not let go.

Having grown up in agricultural areas and families, neither of us can ever forget the taste of what some people today are calling ‘real’ vegetables. And I guess that somehow, that flavour in our mouths, driven by an endless chain of happenstances and twists and turns, the story took on a life of its own - and we became organic vegetable farmers who love their land very much.

Photo: Natalie Shor for Klaptish Magazine