Over the past decades, Agrotourism became more popular around the world, and Israel is not an exclusion. One of the popular activities in Israel is Cherry Picking. Due to the hot climate Cherries grow in cooler areas. All Cherry Picking activities we visited were in the Golan Heights. Let’s begin!
Cherry Picking In Odem
Odem is a small village located at Golan Heights. Odem has a farm that specializes in growing different types of berries, but mostly cherries. And they let you collect the fruits by yourself (official site).
Map of the area:
In 2018 I visited Agronen Raspberries at Gedera and Cherry Picking In Odem in two following weekends. This video is the result of those visits.
The Process In Odem And Many Other Farms
So how does it work? You buy a ticket, which costs 25 NIS per person (20 NIS if you download a coupon from their site). Then you can take small baskets. Each basket can hold about 1 kg. And on exit, you pay by the collected weight. Usually 30 NIS per 1 kg of cherries. And while you are inside you can eat freely as much as you want.
The owners say that all plants are organic, thus you can eat everything directly from the trees/bushes. There are also sinks and soap on the premises, so you can wash the fruits before eating. But, most people eat directly from the trees.
Cherries are probably the main attraction. They are tasty and there are many of them. An interesting thing is that when looking at a cherry tree you don’t see anything. In order to see the cherries, you need to look at it from the bottom (since leaves cover the fruits).
Another interesting thing I have noticed is that most visitors are Israeli with Russian origins. Probably because in Russia the climate is colder and there were a lot of cherries. This cherry picking is a childhood reminder for them.
It is a pity that we saw the following sign only towards the end of our visit. The sign says that it is better to pick the cherries together with the “tail” (the sting). This way the cherries will be better preserved, and next year there will be more crops.
We spent there probably three hours and enjoyed our visit. If you like agrotourism then you should probably check this place.
Cherry Picking At Odem – June 2016 Update
Everything remained the same as in previous years, but this year there were no berries. Only cherries. So, if you are looking for or hoping for specific berry type, call the organizers in advance.
Cherry Picking At Odem – June 2018
The farm is expanding, and there are new additional fields of berries were planted. We saw additional fields of gooseberries, blueberries, and redcurrants.
Also, since the number of fields increased, they put a map at the entrance. I have attached a photo of it at the top of this post.
Cherry Picking In Bustan Bereshit
We visited Odem several years in a row. Thus, in 2017 we decided to try something different and went to Ein Zivan.
Map of the area:
At Ein Zivan you can find Bustan Bereshit (official site). Bereshit is known to many Israelis via their apples in supermarkets. But they grow not only different kind of apples, but grapes, berries, and cherries.
Though, the official site says they are closed on Saturdays, we visited on a Saturday. It was the peak of cherry picking season, and we did not arrive too early (were there around 10:30). Therefore, it took us almost an hour to park the car and about half an hour to exit the parking lot at the end of our visit. This operation would take no more than five minutes on a regular day. Thus, either come early or try coming in the afternoon.
At Bustan Bereshit
And we continued towards the main attraction, at least for us, cherry picking.
The concept is similar. You pay 33 NIS for entry and when on site you can eat freely. If you want to take fruits home, then you buy boxes at additional cost and fill them.
The one thing that I looked for and did not find was water. We ate fruits straight from the trees (did not wash them), but after several minutes kids become completely red. And there are no taps nearby to wash them.
There were two additional attractions for kids at extra cost. Some variation of karting, which was closed and horse riding which was half open. Why half open? We bought a ticket for 10 NIS at the cafeteria, but the horses were on semi-strike. Our horse passed several meters and stopped. The organizers told us that the horses needed some rest and we went to see other horses on the farm.
At this point, we decided to call it for today, and after several hours at Bustan Bereshit, we drove home.
Cherry Picking is fun and tasty. We love it and return annually. Where should you go? If you are looking for additional attractions for kids, then Bustan Bereshit is the way to go. And if you are more into cherries and other types of berries, then Odem is the one for you.
What is your favorite place to pick cherries? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!