Mike from Made by Mike (http://madebymike.wordpress.com/) recently posted a recipe about rosemary and garlic infused olive oil, and Brenda from Coffee Tea Books and Me (http://www.coffeeteabooksandme.blogspot.com/) has been sharing recipes for hummus, Jerusalem salad and other middle eastern delights and they’ve inspired me to write a post about Zatoun, my favorite source for olive oil, really delicious extra-virgin olive oil.
Many years ago I belonged to a wonderful group called the Interfaith Council for Peace in the Middle East. We had members who were Christian, Jewish and Muslim, and tried to educate people about the history of the issues between Israel and Palestine and to support activities which would help the Palestinians make a living under pretty dire conditions. We sold wood carvings made by Christians in Bethlehem at my church and through this group I bought my first olive oil sold by Zatoun, a group located in Canada.
At their website ( zatoun.com) they say, ” Support the farmers of Palestine in the struggle for their livelihood and land. Farmers are paid fair trade prices through Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA). Proceeds from each bottle sold is contributed to Trees for Life, a program to plant 12,000 olive trees each year in Palestine. An additional one dollar per bottle goes to help support Project Hope, an independent, grassroots effort to bring the expressive arts (painting, drawing, music and drama) as a means to help heal and contribute to youth in Palestine.
Zatoun is available primarily through grassroots groups and individuals working for social justice and peace in Palestine-Israel including faith-based groups of all denominations. Zatoun is intended as a tool to help promote their work and literally bring home the message that the struggle of Palestinians is one of human rights and justice.
Olive oil is a basic food which reminds us of our humanity and a symbol of our aspirations for peace.”
I buy this by the case. A bottle makes a lovely gift, and I only cook with this oil and it seems to last a long time. I know it’s healthy and I know it’s helping a good cause. They also sell soap and notecards, and take donations to buy olive trees.
I talked with someone who works for Ten Thousand Villages here in the US and it sounds as though they will soon be selling Zatoun olive oil in their shops. This is a very ethical Fair Trade organization begun by Mennonites and it sells many lovely things from third world countries after buying them from the producers for a fair price.