Top of the Crops - prestigious awards for Scottish Grove olive oil
Published on 2 June 2023 2 minutes read
Olive oil produced from a grove supported by the Church of Scotland in Israel has scooped two international awards.
Two varieties - the Cortina (Extra Positive Olive Oil) and Piqual (Extra Social Olive Oil) both won silver medals in the highly prestigious and competitive international Ovibeja olive oil competition in Portugal.
The oil is extracted from olives grown in the Scottish Grove in the heart of the Jazreel Valley between Nazareth and Tel Megiddo (Armageddon) by Sindyanna of Galilee.
A non-profit organisation led by a team of Arab and Jewish women, it produces olive oil and other premium food products including honey, almonds and carob syrup while promoting Fair Trade, creating economic opportunities and assisting local growers and producers.
Planted in 2012, the Scottish Grove serves as the missing link between the Arab farmer and the Israeli market - the first flourishing organic olive grove of its kind in the region.
It is a model of co-operation between Arab landowners, the Abu Hatum family, Sindyanna of Galilee, and the Church, which has a long history in the Middle East and is active in advocating for a just peace in the region in political and religious arenas.
In addition to St Andrew's Jerusalem and Tiberias Church,which operate as one congregation, the Kirk owns the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, St Andrew's Guesthouse in Jerusalem and Tabeetha School in Jaffa.
Reacting to the awards win, Rev Muriel Pearson, Associate Minister of St Andrew's Jerusalem and Tiberias Church,said: "The Scots Hotel uses Sindyanna Oil exclusively.
"We always knew it was the best and now it has the awards to prove it.
"Sindyanna of Galilee is also a model of co-operative working between Jewish and Palestinian Israelis."
Pilgrim groups from Scotland and elsewhere are encouraged to pay a visit to the non-profit organisation's factory to learn about its products and meet the remarkable women who are working together for social justice and a positive change in Israeli society.
Hadas Lahav, CEO of Sindyanna of Galilee, said: "This marvellous olive grove allows us to promote the modernisation of traditional Arab farming and agriculture by introducing new techniques, irrigation, and olive cultivars.
"It enables us to aid sustainable cultivation and agriculture, invest all future proceeds of the grove in community projects that promote fair employment for Arab women and oversee the entire value chain, from field to extra virgin olive oil bottle."
A plaque erected in the Scottish Grove was dedicated by Very Rev David Arnott, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011-12.
The awards ceremony took place last month.