October is the start of olive season in Israel and there’s no better way to celebrate this fruitful season than with a trip to an olive press. My personal favorite can be found in the beautiful village of Zippori in the lower Galilee region of northern Israel, and only a 15 minute drive from Nazareth.
Rish Lakish, named for a local rabbi, is a family-run olive press. All of their olives are hand-picked from trees surrounding the ancient site of Zippori and the oil is extracted from the fruit using a unique combination of ancient and modern methods. The result is a delicious, high-quality, extra virgin, cold-press, kosher organic olive oil.
The press is situated on their environmentally friendly family farm that combines “green buidling”, an organic vegetable garden and natural water purifiying system.
The olives as well as the organic vegetable garden serve as the basis for a wonderfully fresh, organic and vegetarian menu. The little coffee shop at the press offers homemade cakes, cookies and light meals while the shop sells a variety of goods all based on the olives and their oil. My personal favorite is a special rosemary infused oil (thyme infusions are also available). You can also find olive oil soap and hand creams.
While visiting Rish Lakish, you can participate in an organized tour, or workshops about olive oil production and green building, and of course, an opportunity to taste the different varieties of oil. For children, they can help with the olive picking (during the season) in the organic vegetable garden, or they can participate in workshops according to age and preference.
In the dozens of opportunities I have had to visit this magical site, I have always been greeted with a smile. Set in the backdrop of the lower Galilee and in such close proximity to the ancient site of Zippori and Nazareth, this is a site not to be missed!
Zippori is close to the Israel trail (a trail running from the north to the south of the country) and the Jesus trail. If possible, Rish Lakish is always happy to accommodate the weary hiker as well as volunteers that want to experience life on a ecologically friendly family farm.