A tour teaching about harvesting olives and producing olive oil is a lovely family activity. Let’s join a tour in Bethlehem of Galilee.
The Galili family is a boutique producer from Bethlehem Of Galilee. They have an olive grove, an oil press, and a small store. They also have a visitor’s center and offer tours. And we will join their tour.
Table of Contents
Galili Olive Oil is located at Bethlehem Of Galilee. As you enter this Moshav, you continue driving straight to the end. And then you will see their sign. You turn left and continue for about half a kilometer. You will see Galili Olive Oil to your right.
Galili Olive Oil is situated near Shvil Parot HaChalav.
Interactive map of the area:
- Hotels, hostels, and apartments in this area:
The opening hours of the store are:
Sunday – Thursday: 09:00 – 16:00 – preferably call before arriving
Friday: 09:00 – 14:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00
Besides the store, there are harvesting tours and olive oil-tasting workshops. To join them, you must contact the owner by phone at 052-6154411 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can see the near dates and times at the official site.
Note: harvesting olives tours are available during the picking season, usually from September to November.
We visited the store at Galili Olive Oil many times. And recently, they created an online store. Thus you can see their products and their prices on the official site.
And in 2016, we joined an olive harvesting tour. You have to subscribe for the tour in advance. I ordered placeholders via phone. The cost was 35 NIS per person, and the tour’s duration was about 75 minutes.
Olives Harvesting Tour
We started the tour by looking at several different olive species:
Did you know there are around 300 different olive species? But when scientists checked them, they found out that the origin of all species is the Syrian olive species (modern Syria and Lebanon area).
And then we went to the olives grove:
We got explanations about the grove and olives. And it turns out that the size of the olive is directly related to the amount of water the tree received.
Galili olive Oil is an organic farm. Their method of green pest control is these yellow insect smell repels. The females of olive flies do not like the smell, and this help to keep olives safe.
Methods of Harvesting Olives
Then we talked about different olive-picking techniques. There are manual and semi-automatic harvesting methods.
Manual Harvesting Methods
- The simplest way is manual, which is picking one by one.
For the Next two manual picking methods, in most cases, people first lay nets down under the olive trees and then collect the olives from the net.
- Another manual picking method is using a little rake and ‘combing’ the olives of the branches (you can see the yellow rake on the third image in this post). ‘Combing’ was Galili’s primary method up until several years ago.
As I understood, this method is popular in Italy and Greece.
- Another technique is hitting branches using sticks. When olive branches get knocked, the olives fall on the net and are later collected by people. This technique is quite popular in Israel, and I have seen it multiple times in Arab villages.
Two semi-automatic ways operate similarly. They create vibrations, and the olives fall on the net. The difference is the source of vibration. A vibrating stick is used on each branch separately, and small machinery vibrates the whole tree. Galili olive Oil started to use these methods in recent years.
If you squeeze on oil and get such color, the oil will be okay.
After the explanations, we started gathering.
The ticket price includes a small plastic tank (about 330 ml). And each of us had to fill it up to ~85%. Why not full? Olives can not be eaten straight from the tree. Physically you can eat them, but they are not very tasty. Thus it would be best if you used some recipe to make them edible. And this additional space is left for the extra ingredients (that are added later).
After filling the tanks, on our way back to the visitor center, we fed the goats with olive branches.
The Visitors Center
We saw a short film about creating olive oil at the visitor center.
In the background of the photo above, you can see the olive press. But since it was Saturday and the oil had to be kosher, they did not start the machine.
Here you can see the two recipes for creating marinated olives:
The guide suggested the method on the right, which we used later at home.
The recipe is quite simple. Leave the olives in water for four days (each day, change the water). Then fill with salty water (1 tablespoon per 1 liter), a slice of lemon, two cloves of garlic, bay leaves, and pepper, and seal with a layer of olive oil. Then wait for at least four months.
Some of the produce in the store/visitors center:
And this one of our plastic tanks:
How does it taste? I have set a reminder, and in four months, we will open one of the tanks and let you know.
Six Month Later
After half a year, we opened the cans with olives. They were edible but not tasty. They were bitter. But this was our fault. My wife added several spices, including rosemary, to the recipe mentioned above. And over time, rosemary became bitter. Therefore, if it is your first time, you better stick to the recipe.
You can find similar attractions in the Agrotourism category. And here are a selected few:
- Picking Strawberries – When, Where, and Comparison of Places
- Bustan Shoshan, Matsliah – Visitor Guide – Exotic Fruit Experience
- Mostly Raspberries
- Picking at Tali Grapes in Moshav Lachish
- Honey tour at Dvorat HaTavor Visitor Center
- Harvesting Olives At Galili Olive Oil, Bethlehem Of Galilee
- The Salad Trail – Visitors Guide – Agricultural Tours in Southern Israel
- Ktofoti – Self-Picking Farm
- Sweet Cherry picking in Israel
- Meshek haPark, Herzliya
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience where both adults and children learned new things. If you have not been there, then check them out.
Have you ever harvested olives? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.