Zaytoun was founded in 2004 trade olive oil produced in Palestine then becoming a UK social enterprise to develop Palestinian artisan foods, while continuing to sell the world’s first Fairtrade olive oil, certified in 2009. Zaytoun Organic, Fairtrade Extra Virgin Olive Oil is renowned for its pungent, peppery flavour and this brand was the first organic Fairtrade olive oil to be sold in the UK. Zaytoun Medjoul Dates are the ‘King of Dates’, sweet and succulent, these dates are grown in the sunshine on the outskirts of Jericho, just down the road from Bethlehem. Zaytoun is the only importer of fair trade Palestinian dates to the UK.
The word maftoul means ‘hand-rolled’, reflecting the tradition way Palestinian women prepare organic bulgur and whole wheat flour. Just as their grandmothers have always done, women work together to crack, hand-roll and dry the organic wheat in sunshine. Um Hikmat, a producer from Deir Ballout village speaks about the tradition of making maftoul by hand: “We may not have technological advancements in our village but we can do things with our hands that are superior to anything made by machines. No machine can make this kind of maftoul. It does not work. Since we started making maftoul for Canaan Fair Trade we have been enjoying each other’s company more. We love life. We want to enjoy it to the fullest; this is why we don’t work alone. Maftoul is a great excuse to get together, cook together, and work together. We roll, we chat, and we feel food when we are finished that we accomplished something as a group. These are the beautiful things in life.”
The Zaytoun range continues to grow, and is now available online and from Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, Ottolenghi, Oxfam, Traidcraft and Selfridges as well as through volunteer distributors independent delicatessens and farm shops. Zaytoun Medjoul dates 250g RRP £4.75, Zaytoun Organic Fairtrade Extra Virgin Olive Oil 250ml RRP £6.75. Zaytoun remains a successful Community Interest Company supporting the relationship between Palestinian producer communities and a growing network of customers in the UK and Ireland. Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil and maftoul are both certified organic products.
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