Selecting a title for Michal Waxman and Dohkol Safadi’s cookbook wasn’t an easy task. “We knew we wanted a title that could work in both Hebrew and Arabic. The original meaning of baladi is local, connected to the land or the place, which was just right,” Waxman explains in Noa Berger’s article, which traces the transformation of ‘baladi’ into a buzzword. Yet, as demand for baladi soars, it seems the produce itself is slowly disappearing: “It is becoming increasingly hard to find these varieties at the shuks (outdoor markets). And supermarkets and greengrocers no longer want them because they have a short shelf life and are not as pretty,” she adds.
Originally, these local vegetables and fruit were grown using traditional agricultural methods, often dryland farming (irrigated exclusively by rain). As a result, they were strictly seasonal: eggplants, fakus (baladi cucumber), kara’a (baladi squash) and tomatoes were available in spring and summer, malfouf (baladi cabbage) in winter, and so on. Nowadays, it is hard to find produce grown only by traditional methods — demands for year-round availability has made the use of modern farming techniques and greenhouses more common. This means not all the produce you will find at the spots on this list are purely baladi, so we recommend buying whatever is in season.
Damascus Gate Market
The market is really a group of women selling their unique and famous merchandise – agricultural goods they grow in small quantities on their plots of land, or gather in the wild. In addition to fresh seasonal produce such as spinach, fresh za’atar, Jerusalem sage, green almonds, malfouf (baladi flat cabbage), baladi cauliflower and eggplants from Battir, they also sell hand-made products, such as dibs (grape molasses) and carob syrup.
Location: The entrance to the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem
The Tira Vegetable Stall
Seasonal produce from the city of Tira is sold here, including baladi eggplants, baby zucchinis that are perfect for stuffing, vine leaves, malfouf, okra, fakus and more.
Location: The Carmel market, on the corner of Shefer and HaCarmel streets, Tel Aviv
This famous supermarket and greengrocer in Tira, sells excellent seasonal produce from nearby growers and farmers including fresh vine leaves, green olives, apricots, kara’a, zucchinis, baby eggplants, baladi eggplants, fresh fava beans and other beans, okra, Hebron grapes, fakus, fresh za’atar, and malfouf.
Location: Tira, on the main road, next to the city hall. Phone: 09-7937148, 050-4440544
The Village Vegetables (Yerakot Hakfar)
The produce selection at this Tel Aviv market rotates with the seasons. In spring, you’ll find fresh vine leaves, fava beans, Mistkawi apricots, and green almonds. In summer, grapes from Hebron, baladi figs, spinach, fakus, kara’a, fresh molokhia, cactus pear, and baladi eggplant. In winter, look for foraged greens such as hubeza, akkoub, chicory, Jerusalem sage and fresh za’atar, malfouf, and more. Olives and homemade pickled vegetables are also available.
Location: Sderot Yerushalayim 24, Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Phone: 03-6823424, 050-7342050
At the end of the vegetable section in the Ramla shuk, you will find three stalls selling fresh seasonal vegetables year-round like malfouf, fakus, vine leaves, mulukhiya (mallow), green almonds, small zucchinis, baby eggplants, okra, hubeza, small cucumbers, and more.
Location: Jabotinsky Street, Ramla Market
Be’er Sheva Shuk
Seasonal vegetables from Hebron are sold in a series of stalls at the shuk’s eastern end.
Location: Be’er Sheva Shuk, Ha Shvakim Street, Be’er Sheva
An organic farm on Moshav Hadaya, near Ashkelon, grows flavor-rich vegetables and fruit. Weekly subscriptions for a box of seasonal produce are available. There are also “open market days” on Thursdays on the moshav, where deli products, some from small local producers, are available.
Location: Moshav Hodaya
This produce shop at the entrance of Kafr Qara sells baladi vegetables year round. In spring, you can find fresh vine leaves, green almonds and the much sought-after Mistkawi apricots; in summer, fakus, kara’a; and from mid-September onwards, local varieties of grapes from Hebron. In winter, malfouf , as well as wild greens such as hubeza, chicory, akkoub, and za’atar, are available.
Location: At the entrance to Kafr Qara on Highway 65. Phone: 050-7220017
Umm Al-Nur Vegetables
In summer, this greengrocer in Umm al-Fahm sells local varieties of figs, grapes from Hebron, eggplants, fakus, kara’a , and fresh molokhia leaves. In winter, you can find malfouf as well as a variety of wild greens and herbs, such as hubeza, akkoub, chicory, Jerusalem sage and za’atar.
Location: Umm al-Fahm, main road. Phone: 04-6316865, 050-7279070
Salah Abu-Ful Vegetables
This large store offers a variety of changing seasonal produce: in spring, fresh vine leaves, fresh fava beans, Mistkawi apricots and green almonds; in summer, baladi figs, spinach, fakus, kara’a squash, fresh molokhia leaves, cactus pear, baladi eggplants and grapes from Hebron; and in colder months, malfouf, and wild greens like hubeza, akkoub, chicory, and herbs like Jerusalem sage and fresh za’atar.
Location: El-wasia st. Kafar Qara
This is another greengrocer selling seasonal produce, such as fresh vine leaves, fakus, green almonds, baladi eggplants, fresh za’atar, okra, and more. They also sell tiny zucchinis and eggplants, cored and ready for stuffing.
Location: Yohanan Hakadosh 33, Wadi Nisnas, Haifa. Phone: 052-8736288
Nazareth Vegetable Market
These greengrocers near the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth sell a rotating selection of local wild greens and olives from the area. In winter, wild mushrooms are also available here. During the olive harvest, ask around for Auni’s vegetable stall where he sells several varieties of minimally processed olives.
Location: Nazareth, near the The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation
At the first local organic Arab farm, you’ll find fresh garlic, green almonds, kara’a, eggplants, root vegetables, pomegranates, small cucumbers, and more.
Location: Bustanai 1, Iksal. Phone: 050-3700400
I’billin Fruit and Vegetables
This greengrocer sells seasonal vegetables, such as eggplants, kara’a, zucchini, grapes, figs and also wild herbs and greens gathered in the wild.
Location: Along the main road in I’billin. Phone: 054-7288866