A well known Jewish custom of Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks), is the preparation of dairy dishes. In Israel, whenever milk products are mentioned, the name of the “Tnuva” dairy company immediately comes to mind. Tnuva began operating in 1926, and has continued operating until now. In these years the Jewish settlement in Palestine established its roots and the State of Israel was founded. No wonder that Tnuva became the epitome of Israeli made products!
In 1926, the managers of 13 Hebrew farms gathered at a meeting called the “Hamashbir Conference”. They decided to fund a cooperative that would coordinate and incorporate the treatment of all stages of the processing, producing and marketing of fresh agricultural products. Eliezer Yaffe was chosen to be the head of the cooperative. Later, Tnuva received products from additional communities, provided that the farms only employed Hebrew workers. Tnuva began marketing milk, and later, producing dairy products too. In the thirties, as the cooperative became more established, Tnuva began marketing other fresh farm produce: eggs, poultry, vegetables and fruit.
In its early years, Tnuva had to deal with much competition. The yishuv was used to buying locally-made products from various regular distributers of milk. There were also Arabs who came directly to the homes with a goat, and milked fresh goat milk on the spot. The heads of Tnuva would visit the houses of the Jews and try to convince them to buy Tnuva products and in that way to support Zionism. The advertising posters of Tnuva kept at the CZA, emphasize that the products of the cooperative are locally-made and that buying these products will also strengthen the Jewish economy.