Why you should buy uncertified organic olive oil from Palestine at this time...

Olive oil is more than just an ingredient; it is a cultural marker. Just like wine, olive oils offer a glimpse into a unique terroir. Different soils nurture distinctive flavour profiles highlighted in the oils extracted.

The Ethical Shop has partnered with Zaytoun for many years to help bring their produce to market and we are determined to continue our support for the Palestinian farmers. Due to extreme weather conditions such as droughts, wildfires, severe storms, and flooding, worldwide olive harvests have suffered greatly over the last few years. This has led to scarcity, price increases and competition between multinationals and smaller producers. Add war, harassment, violence, and restricted movement for farmers and workers and the situation becomes dire. Please see the recent New Internationalist magazine that focuses on Palestine.

Olive trees are slow-growing and can live for hundreds of years, with family groves often a legacy passed down through many generations. Harvests hold special significance all over the world and have done so since ancient times. This is especially true for Palestinians, for whom the harvest is a national celebration of their relationship and connection with the land; it is a social and cultural event as well as a major economic one.

Olives in Palestine are harvested from around September to November, and the 2023 harvest season was particularly difficult for Palestinian farmers in the West Bank as it coincided with the escalation of hostilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The situation has particularly affected the small percentage of the harvest that is Fairtrade and organically certified. Coupled with the surge in demand here in the UK, Zaytoun, our main supplier of Palestinian olive oil, is facing a shortage of Fairtrade and organic olive oil. In the meantime, the producer members of the Palestinian Fair Trade Association supply chain who are not certified are keen to maintain the export market for Palestinian olive oil and the crucial link that has been established over more than 15 years with UK customers.

Ethical Shop has therefore agreed to stock virgin olive oil, which, while not certified, is fairly traded and predominantly organically grown, to support the Palestinian farmers during this difficult time. This will enable trade to continue between now and the arrival of the new harvest stock in the New Year. We have hope for better conditions for Palestinian farms, workers, and their families, and for a better harvest this autumn.

Thank you to Zaytoun for their updates on the situation in the West Bank and to our customers for helping us support the Palestinian farmers we work with and their families.

Our next delivery of hand-picked, rain-fed, peppery olive oil has arrived at the warehouse, along with fudgy Medjoul dates, zesty za’atar, smoky freekeh and nutty maftoul. Not forgetting lots of incredible soaps!

More dates and dead sea salts are due soon too...

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