The Tachana in South Tel Aviv

The Tachana is an urban oasis of shops, restaurants and a Friday market offering a look into the incredible selection of organic and whole foods one can find around Israel. Melanie Weiss explores and recommends.

The Tachana (“station”), nestled away in southern Tel Aviv, is in many ways an oasis. The gorgeous 19th-century buildings no longer house the bustling train station of its Ottoman origins—the shipping yard and baggage house have, along with all of the other buildings in the compound, become a series of shops and markets, displaying rough-edged public art and stylish new fashions and supporting Tel Aviv’s southern-most organic market.

Unlike the slow-foods movement inspired market run weekly out of the Namal, and the hyper-local market popping up seasonally at HaChava farm in HaYarkon Park, the emphasis at the Tachana organic market, open every Friday, is not produce. A number of regional farmers do show up, and their representatives perhaps more eager to engage the tourist population, are friendly and helpful guides to the small amount of fresh goods. The Tachana market’s specialty, however, lies elsewhere: it is a prime location for local organic non-perishables.

Whether you’re looking for delicious goat cheese (check out the cheekily named Goats in the Wind stand) or seeking some of Tel Aviv’s only organic pasta (which Kibbutz Harduf, the largest producer of organic food in Israel, proudly sells) or aiming to sample some fine organic olives from within Israel’s borders, the Tachana market is the place to go. All the more so if what you’re really after is sustainably-made pots and pans, chemical-free feminine hygiene products, organic cosmetics produced in Israel or special EcoCamel water-flow regulators that help the hydro-conscious reduce their use of H2O. These products can be difficult to locate in a country without Whole Foods stores, but the Tachana market makes it easy not only to find folks selling these products—many of them are involved in production and distribution, and can helpfully point you in the direction of similar sustainably-minded consumer goods.

The observant shopper will also note the ishur organi (organic certification) clearly posted, like so many teudat kashrut (kosher certification), in individual stalls. These certifications of organic production are issued by the Agrior company, a now-international certification group that was approved over six years ago by the Ministry of Agriculture. The vendors at the Tachana, which include some of the largest names in Israeli organics, are proud of this certification, helping to secure its sought-after status as a trustworthy arbiter of the natural in Israel.

If your primary purpose for a Friday-afternoon is a jaunt to a farmers market for simply a perfect eggplant or two, the Tachana may not be your first choice. If, however, you are looking to sample a broad array of Israel’s best organic products, both perishable and not, local and sourced slightly farther away; and if you’re looking to find these sometimes difficult-to-locate goods in a general setting of art, commerce, history and beauty, the Tachana market is one stop you cannot afford to just roll on by.