From Emek Ha’arazim Plantations to Tur-Sinai Organic Farm.
When Zionism was still popular and building the land was both a vision and a vital need, Sima and Ze’ev Tur-Sinai, established the Emek Ha’arazim Plantations in the western access to Jerusalem. These plantations, covering hundreds of Dunams, served as a barrier between Israeli and Jordanian forces at the time.
The year was 1952, and the Tur Sinai family had a passion to introduce new types of fruits to the land, mostly deciduous trees, that best suited the Jerusalem climate. These orchards included over 1200 Dunams of cherries, peaches, nectarine, apples, pears and more. The first Fresco Nectarines were smuggled to the land via California during 1961 by Odded Tur Sinai, who would eventually become the owner of the farm.
At its height, the plantations provided employment to well over 200 workers and their families, Natively born Israelis as well as new immigrants from Kurdistan and North Africa. As a result settlements were established vicinity such as Maoz Zion AKA Kastel and later, Mevasseret Yerushalayim.
Since there was a severe shortage of clean water in the area, Tur-Sinai together with the Jewish Agency, the Jerusalem Municipality and the national water company MekorotZe’ev, established Mefakim, the first national sewage-purification plant. The plant was successful in treating part of Jerusalem’s sewage, purifying the water in order to irrigate the plantation.
At start of the 1980’s the Tur-Sinai family returned most of the land to the authorities, except for the 30 Dunams that make up the existing farm today.
The two main investors backing the Emek Ha’arazim Plantations project were Ze’ev’s father, Prof. Naftali Herz Torczyner, one of the editors of the Ben Yehuda Dictionary, the first president of the Hebrew Language Academy, A linguist and Bible scholar.
The Torczyner families in the U.S. and Israel, all of which, invested huge sums of money during the peak activity of the plantations.
This enabled the founders to cultivate the soil, purchase the saplings, plant them and tend to them.
Honorary mentioned people were also great supporters of the project such as: Yitzchak Ben-Zvi the second president of Israel, prime-ministers David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett, Minister of Finance Levi Eshkol, Minister of Agriculture Moshe Dayan, Minister of Labor Yigal Alon and many more.
The ambition to engage in agriculture, together with the desire to bring the city inhabitants closer to nature, encouraged the family to establish a green boutique hotel/resort and a place where events and gatherings were held.
It provides hotel accommodations, a setting for events – both private or for corporate and workshops – all in the heart of a fruit-tree plantation.
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