There is a feeling of amazement and gratitude that I get when I gaze over the rows and mounds of fruits and vegetables at our local produce market. Amazement, in the respect that Israel is such a small country, and yet grows so much produce, and gratitude to our Creator for filling the world with such beautiful and tasty delicacies.
In the US, it always seemed like there was plenty of food. Delivery trucks were always on the road and stores were always stocked. There are states almost completely designated to food production, and what ever is out-of-season gets imported. The fruits and vegetables that come to market are always beautiful in color, size and shape – and those that are not are shipped away and used in processed foods.
Through this process the ideas of living off the land, and the miracles of food growth/production, which were common to all a century ago, are removed and become abstract ideas.
Getting back to our local market… you will find an abundance of produce, but it’s just not the same. There is one type of cucumber (the universal Israeli cucumber), one type of squash (similar to a zucchini but lighter in color), three kinds of apples (Gala, Granny Smith and Yanaton – yeah!), almost no banana’s, one type of melon (mystery specie), etc. – you get the volume but not the variety. Some of the pepper may be disfigured or blemished, and the clementine might be green – but it’s real, like it came out of my own garden.
Israeli produce is mostly grown through small family farms and moshavim, either by working fields where there was no growth before, or in hot houses though the country. Our little country has been transformed from a barren wasteland to a high-volume food-producer by tenacious farmers, modern farming techniques and the loving hand of our Father in Heaven.
Having a garden when I was growing up, and later with backyard veggie-patches, I already have an appreciation for the work needed to grow food. But it still escapes me how much food is produced, on a continual basis, for the sustance of the nation. It is truly a miracle.
Potech et yedech – You open Your hand, umasbiah l’chol chai ratzon – and satisfy every living thing with its wants. Ps. 145