Tel-Hai College Presses Ahead with Innovative New Olive Oil Production Program

Tel-Hai College Presses Ahead with Innovative New Olive Oil Production Program

Some people use any olive oil they can find because they have heard it is healthy and they enjoy the taste, but then there are those people who are so passionate about it that they can distinguish between the different varieties and appreciate the subtleties in taste of the many flavors. Olive oil, along with the likes of coffee and wine, may all seem the same to a lot of people, but for those “in the know” there is a whole world to be discovered. With its unique new “Specialist in Olive Oil Production” course, Tel-Hai College has developed the perfect resource for all olive oil lovers out there. The program not only gives people the tools they need to produce olive oil, it also shows them how to grow olive trees and learn all about the chemistry involved in the process.

The External Studies Unit of Tel-Hai College and the Valley Agricultural Center have put together this unique course, the first of its kind in Israel, for olive growers, olive oil producers and those who work in the olive industry as well as all lovers of olive trees and olive oil who seek to acquire in-depth professional knowledge of the subject.

Tel-Hai has always been a pioneer when it comes to thinking outside the box and offering new and exciting courses that are not generally available in the Galilee region, or Israel in general, and this olive oil course is no exception. The processes of growing olive trees and making olive oil both have a rich history in Israel, which date back to biblical times. While it would certainly be an experience to use those ancient methods, the students on this course are lucky enough to use the modern equipment available at Tel-Hai and carry out practical work in the state-of-the-art laboratories at the College. When not learning the in-depth theory or performing important lab work, those on the course also have the chance to go on professional tours to olive orchards and olive presses.

On the surface, there may not appear to be so much to learn about the olive oil production process, but when you press deeper, there is a whole world waiting to be discovered. The track at Tel-Hai includes a wide range of subjects, beginning with an introduction to growing olive trees, botany, the different strains that exist in Israel and around the world, as well as the history of the olive tree in general. On top of that, the course delves into the production processes, new methods for growing and harvesting, setting harvest times using scientific methods, laboratory analysis and quality assessment. The final stage, and perhaps the most exciting, includes a course of tastings, and getting the chance to produce high quality oil in a press.

Of course, that is only part of the story; there is also a whole section on how best to market this in-demand product.

The late Dr. Fathi Abd El-Hadi, who was an expert with an international reputation in the field of olive oil and who taught for many years at Tel-Hai, developed the curriculum.  Mr. Reuven Birger (previously a guide with the Ministry of Agriculture) will replace Dr. Abd El-Hadi and alongside him, Eliron Toby, Ehud Hanoch, Dr. Giora Ben-Ari, Idan Migal, David Noy, Accountant Uzi Messinger, Touma Abboud and others, will give lectures.

This new course is yet another example of how Tel-Hai is leading the way by offering a unique program that is relevant to today’s modern marketplace while also connecting to the historic roots of the land and at the same time helping to develop the northern Galilee region.