I’ve been asked by a few people if I knew where to buy Palestinian olive oil. There are several reasons for wanting to buy it, including those who are looking for a true Fairtrade purchase. Anyone of any background who loves food will appreciate Palestinian olive oil as it’s known for its quality, purity and robust flavour.
After some research I’ve tracked down a handful of places where you can buy Palestinian olive oil online in both the UK and USA, and I’ve listed them here. Some background on Palestinian olive oil is also given below.
All the Palestinian olive oil listed is Extra Virgin unless otherwise stated.
Where to buy Palestinian olive oil in the UK
It used to be very difficult to find any Palestinian olive oil available to the public outside of tiny special shops or importers. These days it’s becoming much easier to find and is often sold by ethical or natural stores. Here are the best ones I could find that are usually in stock and available:
Zaytoun Palestinian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zaytoun is probably the best-known Palestinian brand in the UK. Formed in 2004 as a community interest company, their aim is to promote Fairtrade Palestinian products and bring them to the UK market. They don’t just sell olive oil, but that’s their flagship product and it usually has excellent reviews.
Equal Exchange Palestinian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Click to check the price at Ethical Superstore (note: they also do case deals)
Click to check the price on Amazon
Equal Exchange has created a blend of extra virgin olive oils from Palestinian farmers all along the West bank. It’s known for its grassy, peppery notes, making it ideal for dipping or dressings. The distinctive flip-top glass bottle always looks nice in the kitchen, too.
Yaffa Extra Virgin Palestinian olive oil
This is one of the ‘secret’ suppliers that I tend to go for as they’re excellent value and, at the moment, totally under the radar. You get 750ml olive oil at a great price, made in Jenin on Palestine’s West Bank. They also specialise in Medjool dates grown in the same region.
Where to buy Palestinian olive oil in the USA
Palestinian olive oil is hard to find in the USA and most of it is only available on Amazon. It’s certainly worth it as it’s much higher quality than most of the oils available in supermarkets. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the varieties in deciding which one to buy. Some choices are:
CANAAN FAIR TRADE Organic Palestinian Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Many of the Palestinian olive oils made by Canaan Fair Trade only used to be available by the case to save on import costs, but now you can buy most of their oils by the bottle. Almost all their olive oils are produced on the West Bank, and they run a scholarship for the children of their farmers.
They produce a handful of different olive oils from different varietals, such as:
Jenin Palestinian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml
The Jenin olive oil is described as fresh, fruity and buttery – a milder option for those who prefer less robust, delicate olive oil flavours. Jenin is located in the West Bank.
Rumi Tree Palestinian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml
This olive oil is grassier and more herbal, ideal for salad dressings or baby vegetables.
Organic Fair Trade Nabali Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml
The Nabali tree is Palestine’s native olive tree. It produces a robust fruity, peppery olive oil that lends itself well to brushing over grilled meat or sprinkling over spiced flatbreads.
It’s worth mentioning that the Canaan Fair Trade company also sell a couple of food products too, such as their sun-dried couscous (Maftoul) also produced in the same region. They also have a Thyme infused olive oil too.
Harvest Peace Fair Trade Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Harvest Peace have a 100% organic, Fairtrade Palestinian olive oil, available in a 16oz bottle. It’s cold pressed, then stored underground to preserve its integrity and flavour. Part of the proceeds of the oil go to planting more olive trees, making the production sustainable.
Some background on Palestinian Olive Oil
Over half the cultivated land in Palestine is dedicated to the growing of olive trees. According to Wikipedia, over a hundred thousand Palestinians rely on olive production as their primary income source.
Palestinians feel very strongly about their relationship with olive trees and feel that it’s part of their identity and land. Olives have been produced in the area for thousands of years. Today, most olive oil is pressed and process in the West Bank. Many of the olive oil producers listed above are based there.
Palestinian olive oil is usually extra virgin, Fairtrade and organic
All the recommended Palestinian oils above are Extra Virgin Olive oils. This is a classification meaning that the oil is made from the first pressing of the olive crop. The oil is extracted using only mechanical means, and at lower temperatures, meaning the oil does not degrade or become volatile.
The hallmark of a good extra virgin olive oil is a clean taste, low acidity and an end result of an unrefined, pure product. It is the most expensive of all olive oil grades.
Almost all the olive oil producers listed in this article are producing organic and Fairtrade olive oil. The Fairtrade foundation ensures better prices for the producers and growers, and encourages sustainability and improved working conditions.
Olive trees are particularly suited to growing organic olives and oil, as is the case in Palestine. Most growers have an organic certification, which means their olive oil is grown without any pesticides, chemical fertilisers or anything else artificial in order to improve the olive growth on the tree.
Palestinian olive oil is hard to find and buy outside of Palestine and Israel because most of it is used in situ and is not exported. 2014 statistics estimate that about 6500 tonnes were exported. Compare this to Spain, Europe’s biggest exporter with almost a million tonnes, and you can see why Palestinian olive oil is both scarce and expensive.
If you’ve managed to locate and purchase some Palestinian olive oil, you may want to read another in-depth article I wrote on how to correctly store your olive oil to stop it going bad.