Answers to most frequently asked questions about Palestinian olive oil
Where does this olive oil come from?
The oil comes from the northern West Bank region which is the more severely impacted by conditions on the ground, including the construction of the separation wall.
Holy Land Olive Oil buys the oil from farmer coops directly or through partner organizations such as PARC -the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees- and UAWC – Union of Agricultural Work Committees; both not-for-profit institutions dedicated to helping farmers.
We feel it is important to support farmer coops in these difficult times. Paying more for the oil from the coops enable us to (a) get higher quality oil; (b) have better quality control measures by buying directly at the press; and (c) pay fair wages to the farmers at a time when market prices are depressed because of prevailing conditions. Neither Israel nor Jordan allow the sale of the oil within their territory – Israel since the beginning of the 2000 Intifada, and Jordan to protect its budding olive oil industry.
Is the oil organic?
Yes. In addition to the fact that Palestinian farmers, in general, do not use pesticides or herbicides on olive trees (never have). The Organic Cooperative of Keereh, in the Salfit area will be getting its organic certification starting with next year’s harvest. See the Organic section on the main page for more information.
Is it “Fair Trade”? How much does the farmer get?
Holy Land Olive oil pays the coops a price that matches or exceeds the price set by PARC. This is typically a price that is about 30-40% above depressed market rates.
100% of the money paid for the oil goes to the farmer. In the case where there is an intermediary such as PARC, the intermediary charges a small amount to cover their costs.
What does the oil taste like?
Palestinian olive oil is aromatic and flavorful. Even for the non-expert, the difference is immediately noticeable. Traditional Mediterranean oils are strong flavored. In the U.S., consumers are more accustomed to mild seed oils such as corn and soy oil. Olive oils encountered in the supermarket are often blended to be bland to appeal to the American palate. They may be labeled “lite” or “light”, which refers to their flavor, not the caloric content. Newly pressed olive oil has some of the strongest flavors you will encounter.
This olive oil is characterized by its distinct personality, robust aroma, and a flavor evocative of fresh fruit. It has a peppery bite and a hint of bitterness [a desirable trait] that disappears as the oil ages over time. Once you have tried olive oil from Palestine, most other olive oils appear bland by comparison.