Alumni Update: Jeff Yoskowitz

November 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

By: Jeff Yoskowitz (Summer 2007 alum, Pickle apprentice 2008)

After my summer at Adamah in 2007 I flew to Israel for a yearlong research project. While living there the values and new sensibilities I took away from Adamah stuck with me and fueled my desire to continue composting in the most hostile of settings, volunteer on organic farms and meet the players in the world of Israeli sustainable agriculture.  When I returned from Israel I returned straight to Adamah, to work in the pickle kitchen.

Since leaving Adamah in the winter of 2008 I’ve moved to New York but have taken those sensibilites with me yet again and have been working on a project that works to provide a new market for independent, small-scale and sustainably-minded farmers in Israel.

As many people who join CSAs and eat locally in the Northeast will tell you, there are some things you cannot get locally but you still consider a staple in your kitchen.  One of those items is without a doubt quality olive oil.  Marvin Israelow, a strong supporter of sustainable desert agricultural research in the Negev and founder of Negev Nectars, had been working with an olive grower in the Negev who was fulfilling his lifelong dream to grow in the desert, without harming the land.  With Doron and incredible olive oil in mind, I teamed up with Marvin to bring Negev Nectars to fruition.  NEGEV_NECTARS_FinalRaz

Negev Nectars is a company that operates like CSA and three times a year provides an array of shelf-stable, Israeli products, such as olive oil, dried herbs, date syrup and special desert honeys (eucalyptus and desert flower varieties), as well as others. Negev Nectars distributes to existing CSAs in the New York area, and also ships to individuals’ homes.

The ultimate goal of the company is to support responsible Israeli farmers and their innovative growing practices, such as using brackish water to irrigate their fields, using plants native to the desert (the Barnea olive tree was discovered in the Sinai) and employing the latest in water conservation technology.  All of the profits from the company are going back to reinvest in the land of our partner farms, and while we don’t represent the only market for some of our producers, we are offering vital support, which we hope will be a mark of  success for organics in Israel that will hopefully influence surrounding farms to change their practices, and lessen the footprint of industrial farming.

Another mission of Negev Nectars is to connect many of Israel’s many tourists with our farms and encourage a different kind of travel in Israel, that involves visiting the farmers who grow and produce their favorite products and get to know the land in a unique kind of way.

To become a supporter of sustainable agriculture in Israel and a Negev Nectars member who receives three shipments throughout the year, go to the website and click on join, and if you live near our partner CSAs and want to pick up your packages, just click on one of those locations.  If you’d like the shipments mailed to your home or the home of a friend as a holiday gift, sign up with your address.

And perhaps the greatest aspect of it all is that one of Negev Nectars’ partner CSAs is White Plains, the same CSA where Adamah delivers its vegetables every week and sells its pickles, cheeses and jams once a month. This means that not only do I get to spend time with good friends from Adamah, but together we work to provide the latest and tastiest in gourmet, sustainable and kosher food for the White Plains community.

me with grapes

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