Israeli Producers Celebrate Record Year at World Competition

Despite having its worst harvest in a decade, Israeli producers earned a record-high number of awards at the World Competition.

Sindyanna of Galillee
Jul. 11, 2022
By Wasim Shahzad
Sindyanna of Galillee

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Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.


For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, Israeli olive grow­ers and oil pro­duc­ers cel­e­brated a record year at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

In the tenth edi­tion of the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion, pro­duc­ers in Israel earned six awards from nine entries, sur­pass­ing last year’s record show­ing in both.

Each win is a great feel­ing,” said Hani Ashkenazi, the chief exec­u­tive of BVS Jerusalem Olive Oil, which earned two Gold Awards.

The work through­out the year, the effort, think­ing and activ­i­ties we’ve done coa­lesce into a sin­gle moment,” she added. The win­ning moment, it’s a won­der­ful feel­ing. This is where you know you did some­thing good and right.”

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Israel

The pro­ducer earned the awards for a pair of medium blends, its Heart Notes and Sunrise Early Harvest brands. Knowing that the oil you’re pro­duc­ing is included among the best oils in the world is excit­ing, time and time again,” Ashkenazi said.

The his­toric suc­cess of Israeli pro­duc­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion came despite Israel the worst har­vest of the past decade.

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According to International Olive Council data, Israel pro­duced just 12,000 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year, nearly 29 per­cent below the rolling five-year aver­age.

The 2021 har­vest in Israel was a poor one due to an unsea­sonal win­ter with dry con­di­tions and higher than aver­age high tem­per­a­tures,” said Ido Tamir, owner of Tamir Farm, which earned a Silver Award for its Ptora Midnight brand, a medium Picholine blend.

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Ido Tamir

This resulted in a low vol­ume of olive oil pro­duc­tion all over the coun­try,” he told Olive Oil Times. Facing dif­fi­cult cli­mate con­di­tions has forced us to put more effort into per­fect­ing the pick of the fruit for our pre­mium olive oil series.”

This year, more than ever, I’m proud to say that despite the chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances, we man­aged to main­tain our pro­fes­sional stan­dards, pro­duc­ing a phe­nom­e­nal olive oil, which won this award,” Tamir added.

Tamir knows the value of con­sis­tently pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil. His farm was the first Israeli pro­ducer to earn an award from the Wold Competition in 2015.

We’re happy to main­tain such con­sis­tency, send­ing an award-win­ning olive oil each year,” he said.

Tamir believes that win­ning in the com­pe­ti­tion improves the value of their brand in the inter­na­tional mar­ket.

He attrib­uted this suc­cess to many fac­tors, includ­ing the unique region where the farms are located that allows them to pro­duce a vari­ety of olives. In addi­tion, hav­ing com­plete con­trol over the har­vest­ing is another fac­tor enabling them to pro­duce high-qual­ity olive oil.

We’ll keep work­ing hard to pro­duce pre­mium Israeli extra vir­gin olive oil that stands in line with the world’s best olive oil brands,” he said. We’ve planted more trees, enlarg­ing our olive groves, and we’re look­ing for­ward to another year of hard work and great suc­cess.”

Ashkenazi of BVS Jerusalem Olive Oil attrib­uted her company’s suc­cess to a long and thought­ful process of what their cus­tomers want from extra vir­gin olive oil.

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Hani Ashkenazi (right)

Our olive oil is dif­fer­ent from other brands in qual­ity and appear­ance,” she said. We put a lot of thought into the prepa­ra­tion of the olive oil to pre­cisely tar­get the palate of the con­sumers and cus­tomers look­ing for qual­ity and, of course, design­ing the appro­pri­ate pack­ag­ing. It’s our dis­tinc­tion com­pared to other brands”.

Ashkenazi believes that the global recog­ni­tion of her brand is grow­ing because of its per­for­mance in the NYIOOC.

No doubt that win­ning exposes our brand to new tar­get audi­ences world­wide,” she said.

Even the sus­tained social and eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties cre­ated by the Covid-19 pan­demic could not shake the brand’s spirit and only gave more oppor­tu­ni­ties to build it through the tough time.

We had to be extremely cre­ative and recal­cu­late our direc­tion, but that period taught us to change our habits,” Ashkenazi said.

Situated in north­ern Israel, just west of the Sea of Galilee, the pro­duc­ers behind Sindyanna of Galilee cel­e­brated a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive suc­cess­ful sea­son at the NYIOOC.

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Nadia Giol (left), Hanan Zoabi Manadreh and Hadas Lahav picking olives in Deir Hanna

Winning an award at the NYIOOC is the most impor­tant pro­fes­sional chal­lenge for the team of Sindyanna,” Hadas Lahav, the group’s chief exec­u­tive, told Olive Oil Times. Winning an award two years in a row is the result of a huge effort and a lot of invest­ment in train­ing and improv­ing the entire pro­duc­tion chain.”

You win not because you are stronger, richer, or big­ger but because you pro­duced such a high-qual­ity olive oil that is loved by every­one every­where in the world,” she added.

For Hadas, win­ning at the NYIOOC val­i­dates her team’s project and pro­vides excel­lent inter­na­tional expo­sure to poten­tial cus­tomers and vis­i­tors.

We are happy to see the num­ber of vis­i­tors steadily grow­ing,” she said. We hope our inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and espe­cially the award from the NYIOOC will help us attract more vis­i­tors and strengthen the asso­ci­a­tion’s social impact and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity.”

While these awards demon­strate that their olive oil pro­duc­tion is top-notch, Hadas said olive oil was far from the only thing on her mind. The main goal is to pro­mote sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, coop­er­a­tion between Israelis and Palestinians and cre­ate good jobs for local women.

With the money earned from sell­ing the olive oil, the asso­ci­a­tion invests in envi­ron­men­tal projects, plant­ing olive trees, help­ing farm­ers become cer­ti­fied fair-trade and organic and installing irri­ga­tion in their tra­di­tional groves,” she said.

We joined the European Union project ARTOLIO and installed the first irri­ga­tion sys­tem in the organic olive groves of the Hussein fam­ily in Deir Hanna val­ley,” Hadas added.

Sindyanna of Galilee also recently started to develop some urban agri­cul­ture using hydro­pon­ics. The par­tic­i­pants are Arab women from our com­mu­nity and stu­dents in local kinder­gartens and schools,” she said.

Not far north of where Sindyanna pro­duces its extra vir­gin olive oil, the pro­duc­ers behind KeremZait also enjoyed a suc­cess­ful show­ing in their NYIOOC debut, earn­ing two Gold Awards.

I’m so thrilled to reach this goal,” Nimrod Azulay, the co-owner of KeremZait, told Olive Oil Times. Our farm is inspired by hav­ing such ambi­tious dreams, such as win­ning NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition Gold Awards, then putting in the hard work to achieve them.”

It shows the qual­ity of our prod­uct and empha­sizes the suc­cess of our strat­egy to pro­duce olive oil end-to-end,” he added.

Azulay attrib­uted his suc­cess to their high qual­ity and cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy and said the award would open the doors to great oppor­tu­ni­ties in the mar­ket.

For us, it cre­ates a clear direc­tion and path for the com­ing years to con­tinue and pro­duce these top-end prod­ucts while con­tin­u­ing to grow the busi­ness and improve our tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

While the Covid-19 pan­demic cre­ated plenty of chal­lenges for pro­duc­ers glob­ally, Azulay said it demon­strated his company’s resilience in the face of adver­sity.

While there was a pan­demic, we kept devel­op­ing and main­tain­ing our farm – we used this time to focus on a new busi­ness strat­egy to mon­e­tize the busi­ness and ensure busi­ness health,” he said.

The pan­demic period showed us the strength of our strat­egy across mul­ti­ple dimen­sions,” Azulay con­cluded. In the near future, we plan to grow our busi­ness, open new mar­kets and con­tinue to ensure top-qual­ity prod­ucts.”


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