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Celebrating the Olive Oil Festival in Burq'in (Samaria)

2 November, 20122 November, 2012 0 comments Events Events

The 7th annual olive festival (Jaru'a) is being celebrated this week at Canaan Fair Trade's factory in Burq'in, in Samaria. Canaan Fair Trade is one of the largest organic olive cooperatives in the Palestinian Territories. The festival, or Jaru'a, is a traditional end of harvest celebration giving gratitude for another year of abundance. Farmers, women producers, fair trade distributors, and international visitors gather together to celebrate the fruits of the season.

Canaan fair trade company is a for-profit company that empowers Palestinian farmers by enhancingthe  production procedures for many Palestinian grown products. Canaan educates farmers with regard to improved agricultural practices, ensuring top notch production standards and helping farmers to convert to organic production. 

Canaan takes the products provided by numerous  Palestinian fair trade growers and producers and brings them to the international market. Products include olive oil, soaps, tehini, maftoul (Palestinian couscous) and more. Some of the companies which source their products through Canaan include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and Alter-Eco, which sources their fine olive oil through Canaan. William Sonoma sells 1 pound packages of Canaan's Maftoul  in their retail stores.

Canaan was started by Nassar  Abufarha Al-Jalama,  , a Palestinian Arab born in the village of Al- Jalama outside of Burq'in. After attending Wayne State University and receiving a Phd in Cultural Anthropology from the  University of Wisconsin-Madison, he returned to Samaria and developed the first internationally recognized standard for organic certification, launching the Palestinian Fair Trade Association.


canaan fair trade

Canaan Fair Trade Factory; Photo courtesy Travelujah


He launched Canaan as a for profit business and now includes over 1400 Palestinian farmers in the cooperative. Set amidst ancient olive groves in Samaria,  a tour through their glisteningfacility in Burq'in is a testament to the success of the operation, along with their list of clients.


Prior to joining the cooperative   many Palestinian farmers were selling their olive oil for 1 shekel per kilo, however  after converting to organic certification methods and joining the cooperative, many were able to charge almost 25 shekel per kilo produced. The price, of course, varies by quality level which is determined by production experts during each harvest.


According to their website, Canaan promotes cross-cultural, interfaith, and multi-ethnic connection of all participants in the production and trade processes: workers, farmers, processors, traders, exporters, importers, distributors, and consumers. The idea is to create one community connected by the fair exchange of goods in a cross-cultural setting.



canaan fair trade

Canaan Fair Trade Factory; photo courtesy Travelujah


Visitors to the celebration can taste authentic Palestinian foods such as Musakhan, prepared by the local women cooperatives, and will enjoy freshly baked Taboun bread with freshly pressed olive oil, and mint tea on bonfires!
Guided tours of Canaan's olive processing facilities will also be offered as well as musical entertainment.You can buy your oil direct from the press. Palestinian crafts and embroidery, folklore, dabkeh, musical performances and much more will be held under the shade of the ancient olive trees!


If you go:

FOR RESERVATIONS: Call Canaan Fair Trade: +972 (0)4 234-1991 Or email tours@canaanfairtrade.com.
Tickets are also available at: Zeit w Zaatar (Ramallah) T.022954455,Where: Canaan Fair Trade Fest Grounds, Burqin, Jenin (Kufur Qud Rd)
When: November 2nd, 3rd, 4th 2012
What Time (First Day): 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
(Second and Third Days): 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM


Travelujah Tips:


Burq'in is a small village a few kilometers outside of Jenin and is the site of the Church of St. George, also known as the Church of the 10 Lepers, considered the 4th oldest church in the Holy Land. Inside the small church there is a small cave, with a hole in the ceiling. It is believed that the lepers were kept in this cave and were fed through the hole. Visits to the church should be pre-arranged in advance.




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