20th Annual Olive Days Festival, 28 Oct – 18 Nov 2014
Did you know that it takes 5 – 10 kg of olives to produce 1 liter of olive oil?
Or that the average per capita consumption of olive oil in Israel is 2.5 liters per year, while Italians and Greeks consume 5 and ten times as much respectively?
Or that there are some 30 olive oil producers in the Galilee and Golan?
Or that olive oil has preservative properties that help keep foods from spoiling?
Or that olive oil increases the absorption of some nutrients by the body?
Or that most olive trees in Israel are grafted, sometimes resulting in trees that bear more than one variety of olives?
Or that olive oil can be used for baking sweet confections without adding bitterness or an olive taste?
I learned most of these interesting olive facts during a tour to the Galilee last week marking the opening of the annual Olive Days Festival.
The festival, now in its 20th year, kicked off last Tuesday with the 4th annual Olive Conference held in the picturesque Druze village of Hurfeish.
Over the next few weeks there will be dozens of activities related to olives, olive oil, and olive oil based cosmetics, held at sites throughout the Galilee and Golan. There are far too many events for me to describe, so here’s a link to a comprehensive listing. Even better is this map of events that has just been posted on the festival website. Click the Search icon (magnifying glass) at the lower left of the map to bring up the list of sites and activities, and then just click on those for details. Or click one of the numbered sites on the map to bring up the information. As you can see there are so many activities and places to visit that everyone should be able to find something of interest. The problem will be deciding what to do and what to skip (there’s always next year). Many of the events are free of charge, and there are lots of children’s activities. The festival will run through November 18th, with most of the activities taking place over the weekends.
As you can see from the olive facts listed in my opening, the folks at the various sites were quite knowledgeable and presented lots of interesting and useful information.
To whet your appetites for more, here are some links to information provided and distributed by the folks organizing the Olive Days festival.
Check the zait.galil.gov.il website for festival updates. And while you’re at it, check out the Go Galil website for other activities and attractions in the area. This one’s available in English as well.
To get the most out of the festival, why not spend a few days in the Galilee. There are lots of B&Bs in the various towns and villages, many of which are listed on the zimmer.co.il website.
Of course there are lots of great places to eat everywhere you go, just make sure to have some olives with each meal!
For me, the most gratifying aspect of the olive industry in Israel is how it fosters co-existence among Jews, Moslems, and Druze. During last week’s tour, and especially at the conference, I saw nothing but a willingness, and even an eagerness, of the members of the various communities to work together to achieve a common goal. To me, that alone is reason enough to participate in the Olive Days festival and show your support by buying some of the wonderful olives, olive oil, and olive oil cosmetics. And you’ll be healthier for it too.