Green throughout the year, olive trees
are a popular source of shade. Olive trees bloom in the spring and early
summer, bearing small white flowers. All olive buds start out green. As they
ripen, some remain green, while others turn purple, red and black. The fruit
is harvested in the autumn, between October and December.
At Moshav Bnei Darom, a communal
agricultural settlement of the National Religious Movement, the olive industry
is booming. Most of the olives are harvested from trees grown south of the
moshav in the desert and irrigated with 10,000 year old underground
well-water. The oil, however, is cold pressed at Bnei Darom. Visitors
to the olive press learn about the qualities, history and properties of the
olive fruit, as well as how to identify real olive oil – don’t be fooled
into buying the phoney stuff! For a complete experience, you can make your
own olive oil.
During Chanukah each year, Bnei Darom
hosts an Olive Festival — an original way to mark the Festival of Lights.
Olive oil is an indispensible part of Chanukah when olive oil is used to
light the Menorah. During the Festival, participants learn how to differentiate
between real and fake olive oil, learn about olive oil’s health properties
and history, and taste different varieties of olive oil.