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A Time for Celebration: The 15th Annual Jaroah Olive Harvest Festival

The olive harvest was a huge success this year and it’s time to celebrate! This is the 15th year of Canaan’s tradition, The Jaroah Olive Harvest Festival hosting the farmers and their families to food, dancing and singing. Showing our gratitude and congratulating the farmers for their hard work well done. This year’s Jaroah was a fantastic day filled with joy, bonding, and excitement.

The Jaroah was held on December 20th this year on a brisk winter day on our facility grounds between the olive trees. It had been raining all week before, this was the first sunny day in some time. The trees were glistening and vibrant and the grass greener than ever. It was a perfect day for everyone to come out, enjoy the sun and celebrate. Music played in the background while farmers strolled in to be greeted by their fellow farmers and Canaan staff as old friends reunite and began to catch up on the year together. Conversations growing throughout the orchard, the festival begins to come to life.

As everyone was settling in enjoying each other’s company, the food began to make the rounds. Sitting down at the table guests are greeted with an abundant platter of Muskhan. A classic dish: fresh wood fire oven taboon bread soaked in olive oil and topped with diced caramelized onions, sumac spice and oven roasted chicken. The air became filled with the smell of homemade cooking and bellies began to fill, silence comes, people are focused. The food, it’s that good.

As everyone was settling in enjoying each other’s company, the food begins to make the rounds. Sitting down at the table guests are greeted with an abundant platter of Muskhan. A classic dish: fresh wood fire oven taboon bread soaked in olive oil and topped with diced caramelized onions, sumac spice and oven roasted chicken. The air became filled with the smell of homemade cooking and bellies began to fill, silence comes, people are focused. The food, it’s that good. 

Meanwhile the mics turned on, Nasser Abufarha, the founder is about to speak. Farmers are welcomed, their work is honored, and he began to share a vision. “Building food forests in honor of our origins.” he said. “We can plant even more trees, vines, bushes and herbs between our olive trees making the land more diverse, healthy and strong while giving you a more diverse stable income.”

Canaan wants to create more products that utilize the diversity within the land

Everyone felt the intensity of his words. A food forest, more products; as Nasser ended his speech the grounds sparked up into discussion again, there are new things to discuss but the music started, we must celebrate first.

The singers began their pieces and with them the party. Guys start swarming into the field in front of the stage. Very quickly forms a synced line of clapping, foot work and smiles doing dabkeh to the music. Every second, another hops in the line as it gets longer, and the energy rises.

The singers began a contest of improvisation, each stating what they know about olive culture and the land. Each verse was increasing the energy as they went back and forth. The singers began getting surrounded by everyone though with a clear line of sight between them, it started to become even more festive with the crowd yelling louder and louder in reaction to the poetic mastery that was happening. This energy was sustained for hours. People started being carried on each other’s shoulders’, more clapping, more dancing, and more singing into the sunset. The festival was an incredible success.

The Jaroah Olive Harvest Festival is the most exciting day here at Canaan. It’s the time when we all come together and appreciate each other for working together in taking care of the land, producing healthy food, and recognizing each other as a community. It’s celebrating life.

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Thank you to everyone around the world who is playing a part in this project by either working with us or enjoying the fruits of the hard work that is done here. These moments are possible because of you.

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