I just made some exciting purchases at Ten Thousand Villages, the retail arm of the Mennonite Central Committee, which sells fair trade items and I wanted to share my experience with you!
I must confess that although many of you have already tried it, I had yet to purchase any Palestinian Olive Oil and I bought from first bottle on Saturday. Zatoun is the company that produces it. The clerk at the store told me I was really going to enjoy it and told me the oil itself is a bright green colour. When we got home from the rally against Israel’s attacks on Gaza I opened the bottle and we used it that same night! I also bought a bag of za’atar, a Palestinian spice mix, featuring the famous thyme that is prevalent in all Palestinian cooking. Both products were absolutely delicious.
Ten Thousand Villages also carries beautiful glass ware made in Palestinian (vases and wine goblets) as well as many olive wood carvings, including Christmas ornaments.
An interesting note:many of you have probably already heard of Zatoun, but they are a registered non-profit organization selling fair trade extra virgin olive oil and soap products from the West Bank.
Olive oil is the primary source of income for over 75,000 farmers throughout the region, so why not buy a bottle of olive oil from Palestine today?
The fair trade za’atar thyme/sumac spice mix was especially delicious. I made one of the recipes from the booklet that came with the spice back. This particular spice mix comes from the Jenin area and is produced by a women’s cooperative there.
Fun Facts: za’atar is Arabic for wild thyme and rarely sold as a single herb. It is usually mixed in combination with thyme and sumac so it has a lemony flavour. Za’atar mixtures also vary by country and often contain hyssop (an aromatic minty plant), cumin, marjoram, oregano, savoury, coriander, paprika or fennel seed.
The growers and producers of za’atar are part of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA) which works with 1,700 farmers in 39 olive producing areas throughout the West Bank, a vital and ultimately delicious solidarity cause to support!