By Avner Laskin
Artisan Chef and Baker
Photography by Dan Perez and Sarit Krupka
A PREMIUM QUALITY ORGANIC OLIVE OIL
The Rish Lakish olive oil press is an organic and biodynamic farm located in a small village in the Zippori region in the hills surrounding the holy city of Nazareth. At the head of this family business in the Lower Galilee are Micha and Rachelle Noy Meir who cultivate more than 6,000 olive trees of 8 different varieties.
Some of the trees are said to be between 200 and 1,400 years old. Their six children played a formative role in setting up their current olive oil production. The family have been growing and pressing olives in northern Israel for 40 years. Between October and November, the fruit is hand-picked and harvested from the trees, unlike most commercial olive groves which use mechanical “shakers”.
Rish Lakish produce a superior organic extra virgin olive oil in a sustainable and ecological oil press, that was constructed from straw, mud and olive oil. In the work process they combine both, ancient and modern techniques. The tiny green and purple fruits return to the compound and are quickly shuttled onto a conveyor belt, separated from leaves and twigs and then dropped into the press to be pumeled by a set of massive granite stones.
Later, the olive mush is centrifugally churned to separate the oil from the dregs. The end product is a beautifully pristine rich and flavorful tawny-green oil. The olive press here in Zippori produces some of the Mediterranean’s finest olive oil, having won competitions in Italy, Greece and Israel. Close to the entrance to the village archaeologists found the remains of ceramic jars with remnants of olive oil dating back to the Neolithic period – 8,000 years ago.
To this day this is the earliest evidence of human use of olive oil. Rish Lakish offers workshops in oil production and tasting, as well as tours of the eco-friendly farm and orchard. They also encourage schoolchildren to visit the olive groves. There is also a fine little café where guests can learn all about the history and the culture of Israeli olive oil.
Rish Lakish also partners in peace projects such as “Olive Oil Without Borders”, a cooperation between Israeli farmers (Jews, Muslims, Druze and Christians together with Palestinian farmers) to promote the regions olive oil product. The training is conducted by Ayala Noy Meir, head of the IOC tasting panel and a judge for international olive oil competitions.
More at: www.rishlakish.com