Olive Season!

A Rural Palestinian Village

Welcome to the Palestine Farm Project Blog. Here we’ll be documenting the progress of Palestine Farm Project and providing information, stories and more about agricultural life in the West Bank.
The most important Palestinian crop is the olive (zeytoon) which is used to make oil (zeyt), soap (sabon), pickled olives and even fuel. The season spans the months of October and November and life follows a different rythym in these months. For example, the school hours are altered for the olive season and the days become much longer.

Olive Tree

The next few posts will cover life in a small village in the Nablus region, which is just over an hours’ ride from Ramallah. It is not very far as the crow flies but the whole region is very hilly, the roads are winding and many paths are unpaved. This village is at the top of one of the many hills and the olive trees are planted on the surrounding terraced slopes. This year (2011) happens to be a small harvest year. It seems that the large and small harvests alternate every year.

The whole family is involved in the olive picking process, until they are too frail to go to the field (and even then sometimes…).  The young children tend to just play in the olive groves, while the older children take a leading role. The work can be difficult but there are definitely some sweet moments. Frequently, someone brings a teapot to the hillside, creates a small fire from dried twigs and sticks, and makes delicious sweet sage tea. Zakky (delicious)!

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